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Sarah McBride just became the highest-ranking trans elected official in American history

The 30-year-old Democratic activist and former National Press Secretary of the Human Rights Campaign was sworn in to the Delaware State Senate on Tuesday.

Sarah McBride just became the highest-ranking trans elected official in American history
Cover Image Source: Sarah McBride attends the "For They Know Not What They Do" - 2019 Tribeca Film Festival at Village East Cinema on April 25, 2019, in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

America's first openly transgender state senator, Delaware Sen. Sarah McBride (D), made history on multiple counts this week. The 30-year-old Democratic activist and former National Press Secretary of the Human Rights Campaign was sworn in to the Delaware State Senate on Tuesday, making her the highest-ranking transgender elected official in U.S. history. McBride kept her supporters tuned in on the events of the day through a tweet thread describing the socially-distanced swearing-in ceremony held outside Wilmington's Claymont Community Center.



 

"Today is the day! At around 2 p.m. I will be officially sworn in as the Senator from the First Senate District. I'm excited," she tweeted. "I'll take my oath today on my childhood bible, given to me when I was 8 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, where I still attend today. You get to pick whatever you'd like to swear in on and this is what I've chosen!" McBride also remembered her late husband Andrew Cray — who passed away in 2014 at the age of 28 due to cancer — on the day, revealing that she would be sworn in wearing her wedding ring in his honor.



 

"Like every day, I’m wearing my wedding ring. When I swear in with my left hand on the bible, it will be like Andy is right there with me. I know he is proud of me," the young senator wrote. According to NBC10, McBride started her four-year Senate term on November 4, the day after she defeated Republican candidate Steve Washington in the election last year. However, she officially took office Tuesday and is now able to take part and vote in Senate sessions. While there are reportedly at least four other trans individuals who have been elected state representatives in state legislatures, McBride is the first state senator. 



 

"It's certainly been a whirlwind," McBride told reporters shortly after her election victory. "But I'm excited to get to work. It's been wonderful hearing from so many neighbors, so many Delawareans, who are excited about the prospects for progress before us." She stated that she aims to serve all Delawareans and the constituents in the 1st Senate District, which consists of the northernmost part of the state near its border with Pennsylvania. "I didn't run to make history or to make headlines, I ran to make a difference in my community," she said in an interview last year.



 

The senator's top initial priorities are "health care for every Delawarean and good-paying jobs with paid family and medical leave." Speaking to LGBTQ Nation last February, McBride — who made history as the first transgender speaker at a major political party's presidential convention when she spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention — addressed the lack of trans representation in politics. "Time and time again, I've had the opportunity to see there is space for people of all different backgrounds, including trans people, in our politics," she said. "Growing up, it seemed like there was no place for someone like me."



 

"And there were certainly no examples of someone like me participating publicly, let alone having a seat at the table in a leadership capacity. Piece by piece, I was able to see just how wrong that understandable fear was," McBride added. She also explained why it was important to her to run for state senate in Delaware's first district. "This is the district I was born and raised in," she said. "It's the district that helped shape me into the person I am, and most importantly, it’s the district that has supported me and sustained me through some of the most difficult and challenging moments of my life."

 



 

"What has been clear to me throughout my life, and what has been demonstrated every day of this campaign, is voters throughout this district judge people on their merits and what they have to bring to the table, not on their identities," McBride continued. "I'm seeing that people don't care about my gender identity. They just care about whether I'm going to fight for them."



 

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