Transgender activist Sarah McBride announces bid for Delaware state Senate

Transgender activist Sarah McBride is running for a Delaware state Senate seat a fellow Democrat is vacating at the end of his term.

McBride came onto the national scene in 2016 making a historic speech at the Democratic National Convention highlighting the struggles facing the LGBTQ community, and she currently serves as the national press secretary of the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group. But in her campaign announcement released Tuesday, McBride’s focus isn’t her identity but the issues facing the members of her Delaware community.

She notes the struggles of working mothers and fathers and highlights the opioid epidemic and surging health care costs.

“We can meet these challenges, but it will take big ideas and the courage to act,” McBride said in her announcement. “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.”

McBride is credited with helping pass state legislation to ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, a 2020 presidential hopeful, wrote a forward for her book, “Tomorrow Will be Different: Love, Loss and the Fight for Trans Equality,” published last March.

McBride would be the first transgender person elected in Delaware, and among the first transgender state representatives in the nation.

Virginia state Rep. Danica Roem (D) became thefirst openly transgender person elected to state office in 2018. Roem similarly kept her campaign’s focus on community issues, not her gender identity.

“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 local radio station WDEL. “Those will be my priorities.”

State party leaders appear to be supporting McBride’s historic run.

“We’re more than a year from the election, and while it’s unclear how this race and others might ultimately take shape, it is 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,” Delaware Democratic Party Chairman Erik Raser-Schramm told WDEL.