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More History Made: First Openly Trans Person Addresses Dem Convention

Sarah McBride

The Democratic Party made more history today, when, for the first time, an openly transgender person addressed a a national party convention.

“My name is Sarah McBride, and I am a proud transgender American,” McBride, the Human Rights Campaign’s national press secretary, said from the Democratic National Convention stage in Philadelphia. “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.

“Since then though, I have seen that change is possible. I witnessed history while interning in the White House and helping my home state of Delaware pass protections for transgender people. Today, I see this change in the work of the LGBT Caucus and in my own job at the Human Rights Campaign.”

She noted there is more to be done. “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? That is the question in this election.”

She also referred to her late husband, Andrew Cray, a trans man who had terminal cancer when they married in 2014; he died four days after their wedding. “He never wavered in his commitment to our cause and his belief that this country can change," she said. "Knowing Andy left me profoundly changed. More than anything, his passing taught me that every day matters when it comes to building a world where every person can live their life to the fullest.”

McBride heartily endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, saying Clinton “will work with us to pass the Equality Act, to combat violence against transgender women of color, and to end the HIV and AIDS epidemic once and for all.”

McBride shared the stage with members of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and was introduced by one of them, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York. “Sarah, it is an honor to make history with you,” he said.

Maloney also talked about his family — he and his husband, Randy Florke, have three children. “Our family may be a little different, but we read bedtime stories the same,” he said. He noted the importance of last year’s marriage equality decision for them, saying, “It’s a beautiful thing when your country catches up to you.” He pointed out that Clinton supports marriage equality, while her opponent, Republican Donald Trump, says he would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn last year’s ruling.

Earlier, HRC president Chad Griffin addressed the convention. He spoke of Trump, after the mass shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, having “the audacity to tell the American public he was the true champion for LGBTQ people in this race and that our community would be better off with him in the White House. He even challenged his skeptics to, and I quote, ‘ask the gays.’”

Griffin went on to give an answer, pointing out the differences between Trump and Clinton: “While Donald Trump has promised to legalize Kim Davis-style discrimination in all 50 states, Hillary Clinton has promised to sign the Equality Act into law. … And long before Donald Trump struggled to read the letters ‘LGBTQ’ off a teleprompter last week, Hillary Clinton stood before the United Nations and boldly declared that gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.”

He also noted that LGBT Americans are diverse, saying, “We are Muslim. We are Jewish. We are women. We are black, white and Latino. We are immigrants and we are people with disabilities. And when you attack one of us, you are attacking all of us. And that, my friends, is why together, we are all with her.”

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