Sarah McBride set to become first transgender state senator in U.S. history


Zach Gilbert

LGBTQ+ activist Sarah McBride will be the first transgender state senator in American history after winning her race for the Delaware state Senate. Photo courtesy of Vox.

Sarah McBride, a well-known LGBTQ+ advocate and transgender activist, won her race for the Delaware state Senate on Nov. 3, making her the first and only transgender state senator in U.S. history.

“I hope tonight shows an LGBTQ kid that our democracy is big enough for them, too,” McBride tweeted, following her victory.

McBride ran against Republican Steve Washington to represent Delaware’s 1st Senate District when incumbent Democrat Harris McDowell did not seek re-election after serving in the state Senate for 44 years. McDowell endorsed McBride earlier this past April.

McBride defeated Democrat Joseph McCole to win the Democratic Party’s nomination for the state Senate seat on Sept. 15.

“This victory is not mine,” McBride tweeted after her success in the primary. “It belongs to so many – our grassroots volunteers and donors, our cheerleaders and supporters. I am beyond proud. I am beyond grateful.”

McBride’s win on Nov. 3 comes three years after another transgender woman, Danica Roem, became the first out transgender person elected to a state legislature, earning her seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates.

McBride currently serves as a spokeswoman for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy organization. In addition, throughout her years as an activist, McBride has been a staunch supporter for LGBTQ+ discrimination protections in Delaware while also constantly lobbying for the Equality Act in Congress.

“Growing up, it seemed like politics was where you could make the most amount of change for the [greatest] number of people in the [greatest] number of ways possible,” McBride said in a recent interview with People Magazine. “And hopefully, it’s a way to build a world where more people could live openly, authentically, and freely.”

This isn’t the first time McBride has made history. In 2012, when attending American University, she interned with the Obama administration, becoming the first out transgender woman to work in the White House. Furthermore, in 2016, she became the first transgender person to speak at a national party convention when she spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

During her historic campaign for Delaware’s state Senate, McBride earned the endorsements of many high-profile Democrats, including Former President Barack Obama.

Annise Parker of the LGBTQ Victory Fund was quick to offer her congratulations to McBride.

“Sarah’s overwhelming victory is a powerful testament to the growing influence of transgender leaders in our politics and gives hope to countless other trans people looking toward a brighter future,” Parker said. “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. For Sarah to shatter a lavender ceiling in such a polarizing year is a powerful reminder that voters are increasingly rejecting the politics of bigotry in favor of candidates who stand for fairness and equality.”

Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, was also effusive about McBride’s win.

“This victory, the first of what I expect to be many in her career, shows that any person can achieve their dream, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation,” David said. “Though we will miss having her as an employee at the Human Rights Campaign, Sarah will undoubtedly represent the First District well and we look forward to seeing what she accomplishes.”