Sarah McBride Is Our Country's First Openly Transgender Senator

by Christina Marfice
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Sarah McBride is the first-ever openly trans state Senator — and the highest-ranking trans official in American history

While we’re all on the edge of our seats, waiting for news about the presidential election to keep trickling in, it’s important to recognize the wins that have already happened. All four members of The Squad won reelection last night. So many women who are married to Trump supporters broke with their spouses and voted for Joe Biden. And in Delaware, history was made when Sarah McBride, a trans woman, was elected to the state Senate.

McBride is the first transgender person in our country’s history to be elected to a state Senate, and this also makes her the highest-ranking trans official in American history. For representation, that is one massive win.

“I’m not running to make history or to make headlines,” McBride told People magazine before the election. “I’m running to make a difference in this community and to represent this community as best I can by bringing the full range of experiences and perspectives I have with such a long history in this community.”

She continued, “I am mindful of the responsibility that I hold. I’m mindful of just how powerful it would’ve been for me as a kid to see the story pop up online of a transgender person being elected to a state senate and the message that it would’ve sent to somebody like me growing up worried that there wasn’t space for someone like me in this world. That’s a powerful message and that’s a powerful opportunity to provide a little bit of hope, and a little bit of comfort, to a young person here in Delaware or somewhere else in this country, that our democracy is big enough for them too.”

McBride, who is just 30 years old, has built a political career on securing LGBTQ equality. She’s worked for the Human Rights Campaign and Equality Delaware, and also served on campaigns for former Delaware Governor Jack Markell and former state Attorney General Beau Biden, Joe Biden’s late son. During her campaign, McBride focused on issues like health care affordability, universal paid family and medical leave, and criminal justice reform.

Because this is America, she’s faced anti-trans discrimination, including from her opponent in the race, Republican Steve Washington, who made anti-trans Facebook posts during the campaign.

Despite that, though, McBride has told reporters that most voters she speaks with are focused on the actual issues, not her identity.

“Voters in this district are fair-minded and they’re judging candidates based on their ideas and not their identities,” she told Vox. “They’re looking for candidates with the imagination and the energy and the experience to meet this moment with meaningful results.”

If McBride already looks familiar to you, it’s because this isn’t the first time she’s made political history in this country. During the 2016 election, she was the first openly trans person to speak at a major political convention when she addressed the Democratic National Convention with an impassioned plea in support of Hillary Clinton.

“Will we be a nation where there’s only one way to love, one way to look, one way to live?” she asked during her speech. “Or will we be a nation where everyone has the freedom to live openly and equally; a nation that’s stronger together?”

After such a bitter and divisive election season, we’re proud of the people who voted to elect McBride, a representative voice for so many Americans. We can’t wait to watch her political career unfold and see the positive change she helps bring.