In the rollercoaster of emotions that has been this election cycle, one amazing thing has come out of it: Sarah McBride won a seat in the Delaware State Senate, making her the first openly transgender state senator in the country! Naturally, I have a lot of thoughts about the election in general, but I have a lot of positive feelings about McBride’s victory.
As a nonbinary person passionate about politics, it can be difficult to continuously participate in a system where I don’t see someone like me in power. Some amazing gains in LGBTQ+ representation in elected positions have been made within the past few years. According to the Victory Institute, an organization that tracks the number of out LGBTQ+ American politicians, there are 863 LGBTQ+ officials nationwide as of the publication of this article. But a huge majority of that number are cisgender, which can be disheartening. Would anyone take me seriously as a nonbinary person if I were to run for office one day?
That’s why learning about Sarah McBride’s victory in the Delaware State Senate race on Wednesday made my heart soar. Even though I’m not one of her constituents, I’m so excited to see her victory and to watch her career progress after this election. Seeing a trans woman succeed in an elected office inspires me so much to keep fighting to get to where I want to be someday. If Sarah McBride can win, so can I.
McBride’s entire career is so inspiring, if I’m being honest. According to her campaign website, she has worked for former Delaware Governor Jack Markell, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden (yes, the Beau Biden) and even in the Obama White House. She also made history by being the first openly trans person to address the Democratic National Convention in 2016.
Beyond her political career, she has had a successful career in LGBTQ+ advocacy. She played a lead role in the advocacy for Delaware’s passing of a landmark non-discrimination legislation in June 2013 that prevents discrimination on the basis of gender identity, and she currently serves as a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign.
On Tuesday night, after the election was called and her victory was announced, Sarah McBride said she hoped that the results would send a “message to a young person struggling with where they fit and how they fit into this world: that our democracy is big enough for them too and their voices matter.” Well, I’m feeling a bit more hopeful about my place within this democracy as a queer and nonbinary person now that her constituents in Delaware voted her into office. I plan on carrying that hope with me throughout the next few days as we wait to hear the results of the presidential election.