Transgender activist makes history at Democratic convention

PHILADELPHIA (TIP): Sarah McBride on July 28 became the first openly transgender person to address a national US political party convention, telling Democrats that White House nominee Hillary Clinton “understands the urgency” of the fight for equality.

“My name is Sarah McBride and I am a proud transgender American,” the beaming rights activist told cheering delegates on the fourth and final day of the Democratic National Convention that anointed Clinton as the party’s flagbearer.

“Hillary Clinton understands the urgency of our fight,” she said. “She will work with us to pass the equality act, to combat violence against transgendered women of color, and to end the HIV-AIDS epidemic once and for all.”

Transgender people have seen their cause advance in recent years, notably this April when a US Circuit Court of Appeals recognized that transgender Americans are protected under federal laws banning sex-based discrimination.

The issue has become a political flashpoint in several states including North Carolina, prompting lawmakers to take sides on whether communities or institutions can forbid transgender people from using the bathrooms of their gender identity.

In June after a lengthy review, the Pentagon said it was ending the ban on transgender people being able to serve openly in the US military.

“Despite this progress, so much work remains,” said McBride, who noted that she came out as transgender while serving as the student body president at her college.

“Today in America, LGBTQ people are still targeted by hate that lives in both laws and in hearts. Many still struggle just to get by, but I believe that tomorrow can be different.”

McBride was introduced at the convention by Sean Patrick Maloney, an openly gay member of the US House of Representatives.

“You know, it’s a beautiful thing when your country catches up to you, and when your basic rights, and your very family are on the line,” Maloney said. (AFP)