Sarah McBride: 5 Things To Know About First Openly Transgender State Senator

One of the bright blue moments of the 2020 Election was Sarah McBride being elected to the Delaware state senate, the first openly transgender person to do so. Here’s the scoop on this groundbreaking politician.

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“We did it. We won the general election,” tweeted Sarah McBride on Nov. 3, after the numbers came in. The LGBTQIA+ activist made history on Tuesday night by defeating Republican candidate Steve Washington to replace Sen. Harris McDowell, a Democrat, in the Delaware state senate. Sarah, 30, is the first openly transgender person to hold a state senate position, an accomplishment that Sarah hoped “shows an LGBTQ kid that our democracy is big enough for them too.”

Sarah, in an interview with The New York Times after the win, said she was “incredibly grateful” to the residents of her district – Wilmington, which leans heavily to the left – and that she hopes her victory sends a “message to a young person struggling with where they fit and how they fit into this world: that our democracy is big enough for them too and their voices matter. I am hopeful that there’s a young person desperately in need of that message, who, just before going to bed, looked online, and saw this result. For that person, they know that change is possible, and things can get better.” As she prepares to take her place on the Delaware state senate, here’s what you need to know about Sarah.

1. She’s a proud Delawarean. Sarah grew up in Wilmington and has been involved in progressive and community advocacy for most of her life, according to her website. She worked for former Governor Jack Markell, Attorney General Beau Biden, and interned at the White House during the Barack Obama administration. She lobbied the Delaware General Assembly on a transgender rights bill, which was signed into law in 2013. She was awarded the Order of the First State, making her one of the youngest Delawareans to earn the state’s highest civilian honor.

She was working as a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign — the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization — when she ran for the state senate seat.

2. Sarah already made history in 2016.  Sarah made history four years ago by becoming the first openly transgender person to speak at a major political party convention. She addressed the country’s progress on LGBTQIA+ issues at the Democratic National Convention and voiced her support for then-candidate Hillary Clinton.

“Four years ago, I came out as transgender while serving as student body president in college. At the time, I was scared. I worried that my dreams and my identity were mutually exclusive,” she said during her speech, per Time. “Since then, I have seen that change is possible. But despite our progress, so much work remains. Will we be a nation where there’s only one way to love, one way to look, one way to live? Or, will we be a nation where everyone has the freedom to live openly and equally; a nation that’s Stronger Together?”

Sarah McBride campaigns at the Claymont Boys & Girls Club in Claymont, Delaware, on Sept. 15, 2020. (AP)

3. She ran on a progressive platform. When campaigning for the seat, Sarah called for affordable health care, improved school funding, universal pre-kindergarten, increasing the minimum wage, and more progressive policies. “From the start, I knew I wanted to be the healthcare and paid leave candidate,” she told The News Journal. “Even before COVID, people were feeling that need. This has just reinforced and deepened that need. For Delawareans, for those in poverty, those struggling through the pandemic, the issues we’re talking about aren’t abstract.”

4. Many stars and celebs celebrated her victory. “OMG SARAH!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhh IM SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!!! @SarahEMcBride,” Colton Hayes tweeted when the Teen Wolf star heard the news. “We did it. We won the general election. Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Billy Eichner also celebrated her win, tweeting his congrats. Congrats to my friend @sarahemcbride and congrats to Delawareans for electing a great leader,” Amy Schumer wrote on Instagram, while Kevin McHale tweeted, “F–k yes @SarahEMcBride!!! Some wonderful news!”

Sarah McBride, Human Rights Campaign National Press Secretary, speaks at a news conference after the New York state legislature passed the Gender Expression Nondiscrimination Act protecting transgender people from discrimination on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 (AP)

5. She is the latest of a growing number of openly transgender U.S. legislators. “She was ready. She did run. And she just won,” tweeted Danica Roem, an openly transgender person elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2017. “[Sarah], I am so, so, so, so proud of you, of who you are, of the campaign you ran and the values you stand for. I’m so grateful for your friendship and to call you the first out trans state senator in American history.”

There are currently four openly transgender U.S. state officials: Danica Roem, Colorado state Rep. Brianna Titone, and New Hampshire state Reps. Lisa Bunker and Gerri Gannon. Actually, with the addition of Sarah, there are now five.

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