'Pose' star Hailie Sahar breaks silence at ABC13 town hall about molestation

For the first time, Hailie Sahar is speaking out about a trauma she says happened while growing up in Los Angeles, as she was transitioning as a transgender woman.

The star of "Pose" on FX and Freeform's "Good Trouble" told ABC13's Chauncy Glover Thursday night that she was molested by a police officer during her teen years.

Sahar appeared as a panelist on ABC13's "Say Her Name: Violence Against Our Transgender Community" virtual town hall, which streamed exclusively across our social media and connected TV apps.

During the town hall, Glover asked panelists about the sometimes difficult relationship between law enforcement and the transgender community, particularly transgender women of color.

WATCH: 'Pose' stars speak out about anti-transgender violence on ABC13 town hall

"This is a very touchy topic for me," Sahar began, fighting back emotions. "I know my trans brothers and sisters have nothing but trauma. I myself have never publicly said this, but this is the time and I am going to say it: there was a point in my life when I was underage, I transitioned as a teenager, medically and socially, and there was a time in my life when I was sexually molested by a police officer."

While Sahar did not go into details about the assault, she said the tensions between police and the transgender community can improve if both parties want it to.

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WATCH: ABC13's Chauncy Glover spoke with stars of the hit-series 'Pose' as they tackle anti-trans violence.

"I'm always going to look at the brighter side and say, 'Yes, yes, we have room to grow, and come together,' but if you're not on the same accord with me, it doesn't matter what you say publicly, your actions show differently," she said.

Set in the 1980s, "Pose" places a spotlight on the icons of New York's underground ball culture. The drama also sheds light on discrimination and violence against the LGBTQ+ community, especially against transgender women of color.

The show made television history for featuring the largest transgender cast ever for a scripted series.
Fellow "Pose" castmate Angelica Ross said advancements in policing will be for nothing if the epidemic of fatal killings of Black transgender women and transgender women of color continue.

"As a black trans woman, I have nothing but trauma when it comes to my relationship with police, and I have barely escaped interrogation and sort of violent gaze of just walking across the street in Los Angeles," Ross said. "When you tell our community about training and all these things, we're just like, my goodness. When I just heard about a program (Houston Police) had for nine years, or what have you, I'm just like, 'Wow, that's all so great,' but also the fact this is happening when there are programs in place, it reduces my faith in the system."

Ross said Thursday on the ABC13 town hall that she supports the movement to defund police departments across the country, hoping instead to give resources to groups that can better address mental health challenges and the needs of the transgender community.

In 2019, Texas led the nation in murders of transgender people. The Human Rights Campaign said in the last five years, more transgender people have been killed in Texas than in any other state. From 2014-2019, 15 transgender people were the victims of fatal violence in Texas.

Last year, at least 26 transgender or gender non-conforming people were fatally shot or killed by other violence means in the United States, according to HRC.

In the first six months of 2020, at least 16 have been killed. Transgender rights advocates believe those numbers may be higher due to misgendering, which happens when someone is identified by a pronoun or form of address that does not reflect the gender with which they identify.
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