There Are More Than Two Dozen Transgender Delegates At The Democratic Convention

"It is a very diverse group reflecting the overall demographics in the Democratic Party’s umbrella," says superdelegate Babs Siperstein.

Comparing the diversity at the Republican National Convention to this week’s Democratic Convention almost isn’t fair. While the GOP had white people holding signs that read (incorrectly) “Hispanics Para Trump,” the DNC’s delegates represent a wide swath of Americans.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

That includes diverse gender identities, too: For the first time, a trans person will speak at a major American political convention.

Sarah McBride, press secretary for the HRC Foundation, will address the convention on Thursday, the final day of the event. But she’s far from the only trans person heading to Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center.

Logo political correspondent Raymond Braun reports there are at least 27 trans delegates at this year’s convention.

In 2012, there were a reported 14 openly trans delegates.

Oregon is sending four trans delegates, while California has three and New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas and the host state, Pennsylvania, each have two transgender delegates. (The remainder are coming from California, Montana, Florida and Nevada.)

Delegates from Nevada hoist rainbow-color flags at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 6, 2012 on the final day of the Democratic National Convention (DNC). US President Barack Obama is expected to accept the nomination from the DNC to run for a second term as president.  AFP PHOTO  Mladen ANTONOV        (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/GettyImages)

This year, the Democratic convention will also welcome two trans superdelegates: Laura Calvo of Oregon, who is the vice-chair of the LGBT Caucus, and Barbra Casbar Siperstein of New Jersey, a member of the DNC Executive Committee who will be attending her fourth convention.

Barbra Casbar Siperstein

Siperstein (above) has actually identified 28 transgender delegates at this year’s gathering.

“Although the overwhelming majority are first-time delegates, and come from states who are sending trans delegates for the first time, it is a very diverse group reflecting the overall demographics in the Democratic Party’s umbrella,” she wrote in the Huffington Post.

“Youth, seniors, people of faith, labor leaders, progressive activists, educators, small-business entrepreneurs, veterans, NGO employees [and] long-term Democratic Party officials.”

The percentage of LGBT delegates overall in Philadelphia is expected to be the largest ever.

The Washington Times reported there was one trans woman at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland—though Jennifer Williams of New Jersey was technically just an “honorary” delegate.

Williams is frustrated with her party’s support for laws barring her from using the women’s room.

“I don’t know how our party can rectify that they are betraying our principles and our country’s values by what they are trying to do,” she said.

Delegaes pose for a picture on the opening day of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans arena in Cleveland, Ohio on July 18, 2016. The Republican Party opened its national convention Monday, kicking off a four-day political jamboree that will anoint billionaire Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee. / AFP / Robyn BECK        (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

“We were basically the party that really came out against Jim Crow, that forced the Civil Rights Act of ‘64 through against Lyndon Johnson’s wishes. The history is there, but we are forgetting where we came from.”

Last week at the GOP convention, Ben Carson told attendees that being transgender “is the height of absurdity.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.