Trans Activist Sarah McBride Is Running for Delaware State Senate

She could become the first transgender person elected to office in the state.

Transgender activist Sarah McBride has announced she is running for Delaware state Senate.

McBride, who serves as the national press secretary for HRC, and is the author of the 2018 memoir Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality, is seeking the District 1 seat being vacated by Harris McDowell, a fellow Democrat who has announced his plans to retire.

If she is victorious, McBride will reportedly be the first transgender person elected in Delaware, and, according to the Victory Fund, the “first openly transgender state senator in U.S. history.”

equality act press conference
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
McBride speaks on introduction of the Equality Act at the US Capitol on April 01, 2019 in Washington, DC.

However, she is not focusing her campaign around the historic nature of her candidacy, instead choosing to focus on the issues facing the communities she would represent, which includes Claymont and Bellefonte.

Those issues outlined include health care costs, the opioid epidemic, and the struggles faced by those caring for loved ones while trying to make ends meet as a member of the working class.

“We can meet these challenges, but it will take big ideas and the courage to act,” McBride said in her announcement video. “I’ve spent my life fighting for people to have dignity, peace of mind, and a fair shot at staying afloat and getting ahead. I’m running for state Senate to fight for you, and I’m asking you to join me.”

Issues of access to care, rising health care costs, and juggling career and family obligations are personal for the candidate, as she cared for her late husband, Andy, during his battle with cancer.

“At the end of the day, I’m not running to be a transgender state senator, I’m running to be a senator who serves her community, I’m running to be a senator who fights for affordable health care, I’m running to be a senator who works to expand access to paid leave, and reform our broken criminal justice system,” McBride told radio station WDEL. “Those will be my priorities.”

Delaware Democratic Party Chairman Erik Raser-Schramm said it was “undeniably exciting that a candidate of Sarah’s caliber—someone with an international platform—is so committed to serving her neighbors at home.”

“The kind of quality candidates we’re seeing running in our Party is, I think, a testament to the fact that Dover has really become a proving ground of important progress that continues to move all of Delaware forward.”

Outgoing HRC President Chad Griffin showed his support on Twitter, calling McBride “a tireless, passionate, and hardworking advocate for all those who need one the most.”

McBride rose to national attention in 2012, when she came out as transgender after winning an election for student body president at American University. She is largely credited, as a member of the board of Equality Delaware, for the passage of legislation banning discrimination on the basis of gender identity in public accommodations, housing, employment, and insurance.

She also made history in 2016, becoming the first out trans person to address a major party’s convention when she spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. In 2018, she participated in Logo’s LGBTQ State of the Union.

Journalist, editor, and artist.