Sarah McBride makes history as first transgender national convention speaker
"My name is Sarah McBride and I am a proud transgender American.”
That's how Wilmington native Sarah McBride started her remarks at the DNC Thursday night after receiving a standing ovation as the first ever transgender person to address a national political convention.
In the crowd native Delawarean and North Carolina delegate Nervahna Crew held her fists in the air and chanted “no HB2,” in protest of North Carolina’s state law that prevents transgender people from using bathrooms corresponding to the gender they identify with.
“They’re humans just like myself," Crew said. "I have a lot of transgender and gay family members and they have the same rights as I have. They are no different from me. And it’s time that the government catches up to where we are in this century.”
And it's laws like HB2 that McBride has been working to combat for years, through her work interning at the White House, helping Delaware pass protections for transgender people, and now at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
Her parents Dave and Sally McBride sat among the Delaware delegates to watch her speech. They couldn’t be more proud and overwhelmed with happiness for Sarah.
“It was such an honor for her and for her family. It’s so amazing what it meant for all transgender people," Sally McBride said.
Sally said she hopes hearing Sarah will give transgender people more hope for the future and courage to be their true, authentic selves. Dave recognized the state of Delaware for its support – and said he felt like family sitting with the delegates.
Sarah walked up to greet her parents – and fellow Delawareans – in the crowd after her speech. She said despite much progress for the equal rights of transgender people, she’ll continue to work for even more equality.
Sarah McBride says she felt inspired, excited and honored to have had the opportunity to be the first transgender person to speak at a national convention Thursday night.
"I think it’s just a reflection of this already historic convention," McBride said. "Throughout this week and tonight we’re hearing a message of love and positivity and inclusion that stands in such stark contrast with the messages of division and discrimination and hate that we heard from Cleveland."
She hopes the positive reception she got from the crowd will empower transgender people struggling with their identities to demand respect.
U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, a family friend of the McBride’s, applauded her role in ensuring rights for transgender people in Delaware.
He said it’s been a long journey, and recognized Markell’s efforts for signing a series of measures into law to protect transgender individuals.