As a bi-racial African-American transgender woman, attorney Taylor Brown had a lot working against her on the path to becoming the Tyron Garner Memorial Fellow at the Southern Regional Office of Lambda Legal.
“I have had to fight my entire life to quite literally exist,” Brown told Q.
But Brown has a lot of fight in her. Originally from Morganton, N.C., she came out as trans at 18 and vowed to never let it be a hindrance. She became the first person in her family to graduate from college and then law school. And now she’s battling inequalities in policy and the law for African-American LGBTQ people and African-American people living with HIV at Lambda Legal.
Brown is the second in Q’s new Q&A profiles on the professional and personal sides of LGBTQ Atlantans you should know.
What made you want to practice law?
I love to read, analyze, write, and make arguments. Those skills are essential in litigation. … On a personal level, I understand firsthand what it is like to be fired, denied healthcare, and to be mistreated, solely because I happen to be transgender.
I have had to fight my entire life to quite literally exist. The good news is that I have a propensity for winning. At Lambda Legal, I get to keep up that same fight on behalf of others. It is an amazing job and I am incredibly fortunate.
To what do you attribute your success?
First and foremost, my incredible grandmother, Rosetta. She is the strongest, kindest, and wisest woman that I know. She has continuously supported me, shown me unconditional love, and I would not be who I am or where I am today without her.
Second, I truly believe the adversities that I have faced in my life have made me a stronger and better person, in all aspects of my life. From the moment that I accepted my identity, when I was 18, I committed myself to the idea that I would never let anyone treat me differently because of who I am. I would never accept limitations on my life because of who I am. I have always described those feelings as a fire. I do not know where that fire comes from, but it has kept me alive and has helped me thrive. I have also been incredibly fortunate to have amazing friends, mentors, and colleagues.
How do you stay focused and not get overwhelmed with the rights of LGBTQ people, women and people of color constantly under attack?
It is difficult. I take personal time and my mental healthcare very seriously. I always make time to make sure those needs are met. I also have a great group of friends, also in the legal profession, and they are a large part of my happiness. I am beyond fortunate to be able to work at the best LGBTQ/HIV legal organization in the country. I wake up every day knowing that there are direct attacks on our communities.
Attacks and threats to our existence, our livelihoods, our abilities to access healthcare, have families, etc. make the mantle we have at Lambda Legal even greater, and I am conscious of that every single day. It pushes me and my colleagues to be the best advocates that we can be.
Ultimately, when you work on the side of good, you go home every day knowing that you are working to make people’s lives better, often in profound ways. That feeling is what keeps me going, fuels the fire inside of me, and allows me to do what must be done to preserve the progress we have made and to continually push for more.
What's one thing people would be surprised to find out about you?
My friends always make fun of me for my YouTube addiction. I watch everything on YouTube: Supreme Court oral arguments, mukbangs, DIY videos, product reviews, foreign television shows, RHOA clips, etc. I constantly send my friends weird/funny videos, and if anyone ever saw my history, I would probably be pretty embarrassed.
Find out more about the work of Lambda Legal at lambdalegal.org.
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