Democratic candidate Sarah McBride on Tuesday won the election for the Delaware state senate, making her the first openly transgender person to hold the position in the United States, The New York Times reported. After she takes charge, she will be the highest-ranking elected transgender official in the country.
McBride, a transgender activist, defeated Republican nominee Steve Washington in the First State Senate District in Delaware. Annise Parker, president of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, called McBride’s win “a powerful testament to the growing influence of transgender leaders in our politics”.
The 30-year-old activist had interned at the White House during the Obama administration and later lobbied the Delaware General Assembly on a transgender rights bill. The bill, the Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Act, was signed into law in 2013. In 2016, she became the first transgender person to speak at a major party’s convention when she took the stage at the Democratic National Convention.
She also supports the Equality Act, which Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has promised to pass within 100 days if he is elected as the president, according to News18.
“I think tonight’s results demonstrate what I’ve known my entire life, which is that the residents of this district are fair-minded, and they’re looking at candidates’ ideas and not their identity,” McBride told AP. “It is my hope that a young LGBTQ [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer] kid here in Delaware or really anywhere in this country can look at the results and know that our democracy is big enough for them, too.”
She succeeds Democrat Harris McDowell, who had held the Senate seat since 1976. McDowell had endorsed McBride’s candidacy.
McBride is not the only LGBTQ member in the legislature. Social worker Marie Pinkney, who identifies as queer, was elected to the state Senate in a September Democratic primary. Pinkney is the first openly queer woman elected to the legislature.
Similarly, Democrat Eric Morrison became the first openly gay man to be elected to the General Assembly on Tuesday. He beat an incumbent House member in the September primary.