When Sarah McBride was sworn in as a Delaware state senator last month, she made history, becoming the nation’s top transgender elected official.
“I think it’s impressive. I feel a deep sense of responsibility,” she said.
In fact, this isn’t the first time McBride has made history, as someone who has accumulated centuries of experience in life and love in just 30 years.
“He’s the strongest, most resilient person I know,” said Sally McBride. But for many years, she and David McBride had no idea that the child they considered their youngest son had a secret.
Sarah told correspondent Rita Braver: “From my earliest memories, I remember lying in my bed at night, praying that I would wake up the next day and be myself, my family to be proud. about me and judge me on my merits. “
“And do you see yourself as a girl?” Braver asked.
“And see me as myself.”
Even then, McBride had a passion for politics: “But at the same time, it didn’t seem possible to be out and trans and to be involved in politics, whether it was running for office, serving in government. , you know, even being in the countryside. “
Yet McBride worked on the campaign for attorney general Beau Biden, the president’s late son, and that of former Delaware governor Jack Markell.
“I knew this kid had something very special, a number of things that were very special – incredibly articulate and a great speaker,” said Markell.
Still struggling to fit in as a man, McBride attended the American University in Washington, DC, and was elected student body president. But finally, at Christmas 2011, the pain could not be denied: “It was only when I was president of the student body that I had the experiences, courage, confidence and insight that showed me that the things I told myself would heal that pain, wouldn’t, ”said McBride.
Braver asked Sarah’s parents, “When Sarah comes up to you and says, ‘Mum, dad, I have something to tell you…’ your immediate response?”
“I was devastated,” Sally said. “I fell to the ground and started to cry.”
Because? “Because I felt she would be discriminated against at every turn.”
But despite the initial shock, “I knew we were going to support her the minute she presented herself to us,” David said. “There was never any doubt in my mind.”
And at the end of his term as student body president, McBride published an opinion piece in the college newspaper.
“How did it feel to be able to finally say, ‘Hey, guess what, this is who I am’? ‘ Braver asked.
“Complete and utter relief.”
The following year, McBride would make history by joining the Obama-Biden administration as the first openly transgender intern in the White House. And it was during an event at the White House that she first met a handsome young lawyer: a trans man named Andrew Cray.
“Andy was the nicest, funniest, smartest person I have ever met,” McBride said.
The two became a couple, even as McBride started working in Delaware. With her parents by her side, at just 22, she led the fight to pass the state’s first law that protects transgender people from discrimination.
But as life seemed sunny, McBride’s partner got sobering news: “I think everyone is afraid to hear that particular word: cancer,” she said.
It was a sad and scary year-long battle, with McBride acting as Cray’s caregiver.
“I remember collapsing and saying selfishly, ‘I can’t do this.’ And what I meant is I can’t, I need help. And to this day, what makes me feel guilty is that at this moment of utter fear for him, he was trying to comfort me. “
Eventually, when they learned that Cray’s cancer was terminal, they decided to get married. Four days after their marriage, he passed away.
Braver asked, “How hard was it for you to go on and start living some kind of life again?”
“Incredibly difficult,” McBride said. “But then I also felt like I saw how precious life was, and I felt closer to Andy coming back to work.”
Sarah’s work as an LGBTQ rights advocate saw her take on another historic role: in 2016, at the invitation of the Clinton campaign, she became the first transgender person to speak at a national political convention. .
“Ninety-nine percent of the people in this arena didn’t know anything about me; they knew, however, that it was a time,” McBride said.
Winning a Senate seat was also a moment. But she says her life is still not over.
Braver asked, “Are you hoping to find a partner, someone you love to share the rest of your life with?”
“Yes,” she replied. “There have been so many examples, there have been so many times during this campaign where I thought about Andy, where I wished he had comforted me, and it really made me feel stronger about how I ‘would like to finally have a partner in life. ”
Meanwhile, McBride is well aware that being the most elected transgender official in US history has put her in the spotlight:
“I feel responsible for making sure that while I’m the first, I’m not the last. And so, the more examples we have, in more communities and in more states across the country, the more people we will see stepping up and inevitably, the more people we will see winning. “
For more information:
Story produced by Robert Marston and Jay Kernis. Publisher: Remington Korper.