Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Delaware elects first openly trans person to a state senate seat, inspires hope at Southeast

Wednesday, November 4, 2020
Photo of Sarah McBride
Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Democratic candidate Sarah McBride has been elected as the state senator for District 1 in Delaware, making her the first openly transgender person to be elected to a state senate seat.

McBride is now the highest-ranking openly transgender official in the country and in American history, according to an article by Vox. She was elected with 73.3% of the vote against Republican candidate Steven Washington.

Carson Lopez, graduate assistant for the LGBTQ+ Resource Center and a transgender student at Southeast, said he views McBride’s win as a step in the right direction, as it’s “rare to see any transgender people in positions of represenation or power in this country.”

“It’s definitely a great sign, I think, that Delaware has just elected their first transgender person to a state senate seat — it gives me hope,” Lopez said.

McBride’s campaign has focused on health care affordability, universal paid family and medical leave, universal pre-K and criminal justice reform, according to McBride’s website. The 30-year-old Democrat built the foundation for her career on securing LGBTQ equality, working in roles at the Human Rights Campaign and Equality Delaware. Additionally, she worked on the campaigns of former Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and former state Attorney General Beau Biden.

“Sarah McBride herself clearly has a heart of gold, not just for LGBTQ people, but for students, for children, for people who are falling victim to the criminal justice system, so it’s really good to see somebody out there who is not only transgender but is about more than just the LGBTQ community,” Lopez said. “I love seeing that intersectionality and that nuance in that larger, bigger picture — in the fight for the kind of world we want to live in.”

McBride came to political prominence in 2016 when she “made history” by becoming the “first openly trans person to address a national party convention,” as stated in a previous article by Vox.

“Some people will see something like this and think, ‘Oh, it’s all good now, transgender people don’t have any problems anymore here in the U.S.,’ and I hope that people keep in mind that while this is a tremendous step in the right direction, it doesn’t speak to the injustices and marginalizations that are still very much rampant in this country,” Lopez said. “While we celebrate McBride’s victory, we also need to keep in mind that there are thousands and thousands of trans people all over this country who need our help — who need to be recognized and taken into consideration when making these legislative decisions.”

In her speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, McBride challenged America: “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?”