POLITICS
04/11/2020 2:35 PM AEDT

Sarah McBride Makes History As First Openly Trans State Senator

The 30-year-old, who beat Republican Steve Washington in Delaware, said she hopes her win shows LGBTQ kids "that our democracy is big enough for them."

Sarah McBride made history on Tuesday night when she became the highest-ranking openly trans official in America after winning a seat in Delaware’s state Senate.

The 30-year-old Democrat defeated Republican Steve Washington to take the seat of now-retired state Senator Harris B. McDowell III. 

McBride said she’s “so thankful to the hundreds of volunteers who made calls, sent texts, and talked to voters to bring our neighbours together.”

“I’m humbled by the support of neighbours and ready to work every day to make a difference in the lives of all the residents of the First Senate District,” she said, adding: “I hope tonight shows an LGBTQ kid that our democracy is big enough for them, too. As Delaware continues to face the COVID crisis, it’s time to get to work to invest in the policies that will make a difference for working families.” 

She also tweeted her gratitude to her 60,000 followers:

On the heels of McBride’s win, Annise Parker, the president and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund and a former mayor of Houston, stated: “Sarah’s overwhelming victory is a powerful testament to the growing influence of transgender leaders in our politics and gives hope to countless trans people looking toward a brighter future.”

“Throughout this election cycle, Donald Trump and other cynical politicians attempted to use trans people as a political weapon, believing they could gain popularity by stoking fear and hate,” the statement continued. “For Sarah to shatter a lavender ceiling in such a polarising year is a powerful reminder that voters are increasingly rejecting the politics of bigotry in favour of candidates who stand for fairness and equality. Her victory will inspire more trans people to follow in her footsteps and run for public office.”

McBride, whose campaign zeroed in on health care and guaranteed paid medical and family leave to Delaware families, rose to prominence in 2016 when she became “the first openly trans person to address a national party convention” at that year’s Democratic National Convention, as Vox reported

“My name is Sarah McBride, and I am a proud transgender American,” she said at the start of her DNC speech. “Today in America, LGBTQ people are targeted by hate that lives in both laws and hearts. Many still struggle just to get by. But I believe tomorrow can be different. Tomorrow, we can be respected and protected.”

Of her campaign this past year, McBride told The Daily Beast in September that she was “not running to be ‘the transgender state senator.’”

“I’m running to be a state senator who was born and raised in this district, a state senator who is a caregiver, a state senator who is working every single day to ensure more Delawareans get the health care they need and are supported in the challenges and crises they face with meaningful policies,” she said.

After her win, McBride was flooded with praise on social media from members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community: