On Sunday, Aug. 25, the Human Rights Campaign publicly endorsed Sarah McBride, longtime LGBT rights activist and out trans candidate running for the Delaware Senate. If elected, McBride would be the first openly trans person to hold a seat in any State Senate in the U.S.
As part of his first national tour, newly appointed HRC president Alphonso David praised McBride at Wilmington Brew Works at what doubled as her campaign kick-off event.
“Sarah was one of his first endorsements, which really just underscores the importance of her race and of the opportunity that we have to make history in Delaware,” said Lucas Acosta, National Press Secretary for the HRC.
David spoke about McBride’s ability to drive change for LGBT communities and beyond.
“At a time when equality is under attack at the federal level, it has never been more important for states like Delaware to show the nation what is possible when we reject the politics of division and embrace the politics of progress,” David said in a press release. “We’re proud to endorse Sarah’s historic candidacy, and cannot wait to call her Senator McBride.”
McBride currently works as National Press Secretary for the HRC but plans to scale back to focus on her campaign. She has made indelible strides for LGBT communities since interning at the White House and working for Governor Jack Markell — she worked as Campaigns and Communications Manager for the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress; helmed the effort to pass the breakthrough antidiscrimination bill in Delaware in 2013; and she spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the first trans person to address a major political party convention.
She played an integral role in the House of Representatives’ passage of the Equality Act and has strongly defended voting rights, firearm safety and solutions to gender-related violence.
Though early in her campaign, McBride has a very positive, can-do attitude and is excited to connect with Delaware residents and listen to their concerns. She started by knocking on her fellow Delawareans’ doors, which she and dozens of volunteers continued to do after the HRC event at Wilmington Brew Works this past Sunday. Delaware State Treasurer Colleen Davis and State Rep. Debra Heffernan were among some of the supporters present at the event.
“It’s going very well so far,” McBride said. “We’ve got the support of most of the representatives from the district. Door-knocking has been going great, with a lot of really positive interactions, and a lot of folks, no matter where we’re door-knocking, who are committing firmly to support the campaign.”
If she wins the seat, McBride plans to address issues of healthcare, ensure access to paid family and medical leave and make improvements to Delaware’s criminal justice system, among other things.
“Sarah not only has representation for the trans community in elected office, but also, putting our stamp on helping elect her early is really going to give her the opportunity within the primary race itself to show her strength as a candidate and show that she has the community 100 percent behind her,” Acosta said.
In terms of potential challenges as a trans candidate, McBride is confident in the unwavering support of her community. She does not believe her trans identity will hinder her chances of winning the senatorial seat.
“The response from the community has been incredible,” she said. “I’m optimistic. I’m a joyful, hopeful warrior, and I know for sure that this is a community that judges people, including candidates, on what they bring to the table, not on their identities.”