Tiffany Justice is known for many reasons. She is an Emmy award-winning journalist, an evening news reporter at Houston’s FOX 26, and her transgender brother’s biggest supporter.
At FOX 26, she covers a range of topics—including stories related to the LGBTQ community. The longtime LGBTQ ally says she is grateful for the opportunity to highlight the community’s issues on television because she recognizes how important awareness and representation are.
“Just through having a sibling who is transgender, I know it’s important to have your community,” she says. “Sometimes people can get in a little bubble where they think they’re alone. I think it’s important for people to have examples of others out there who will help them.”
The focused, ambitious, and confident Justice knew from a young age she wanted to become a journalist. “You’re able to touch and meet so many different types of people. I really did fall in love with journalism,” she says.
Justice joined her high school’s newspaper and majored in mass communication at the University of Utah. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in print journalism in 2013, and a year later she became a news producer, anchor, and reporter at KTVZ, a television station in Bend, Oregon. She has been in the communication field ever since.
Justice loves journalism as much as she loves her family. The Korean and African American woman grew up in a conservative small town in Utah, 40 minutes north of Salt Lake City. She recognized early on that there weren’t many people in the neighborhood who looked like her and her siblings, and that brought her family closer together.
Justice and her youngest brother, Theo, who is trans, were the closest of the four siblings, since they were around the same age and only one grade level apart. Although they now have their own lives (hers in Houston and his in Salt Lake City), they still have each other’s backs.
“She’s a ‘safe place’ where I’ve always been able to be,” Theo says.
“I got the big-sister syndrome,” Tiffany laughs. “We have each other’s full support, so we have a really close connection. I know I haven’t walked in his shoes, but I’m very overprotective of my little brother.”
The pair got even closer when Theo came out to his family as a trans man. After he shared his decision to transition, he agreed to have a heart-to-heart with the family about his choice.
“I just knew that I needed to show him that he has my 100 percent support, because I know that’s not an easy conversation or journey to have,” Tiffany says. “The biggest focus for me in that conversation was just to make sure he was ready for what was to come.”
Theo says he felt reassured throughout their entire talk. In fact, his sister’s interest and unconditional love made him feel safe and confident about his decision.
“Tiffany has always been someone I can lean on and talk to in the family,” he says. “Her response made me feel very safe. I think the world of her, and I just thank her a lot for the support through the years.”
On an average day, Tiffany is busy even before her shift at FOX 26 Houston begins at 1:30 p.m. She likes to get a head start, so before the clock strikes noon, she is looking at her emails and scrolling through social media to find and pitch stories to her editorial team. Afterward, she interviews the relevant parties, collaborates with her teammates, and airs her story during FOX 26 Houston’s evening news segment.
In her spare time, Tiffany likes to run, read, and watch true crime shows. With Theo’s permission, she uses her social-media handles to share how proud she is of her brother.
According to Theo, familial support is vital to members of the LGBTQ community. His family inspired him to continue his transition when he faced opposition from society—and in his own mind.
“That support from your family—when they say ‘No matter what, I see you, I love you’—that means the world to me,” Theo says. “Without the support of my sister, I wouldn’t know where I would be, because I wouldn’t have the confidence to be who I am.”
Tiffany says she will always be proud of her brother, and considers him one of the bravest people she has ever known. “I know he’s trying to live his true life, and many people don’t take that step. So I admire my brother deeply.”
This article appears in the June 2021 edition of OutSmart magazine.