One week after Caitlyn Jenner appeared in Cleveland for the Republican National Convention, Democrats responded by deploying their own transgender speaker at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) to bolster nominee Hillary Clinton.
Sarah McBride, who was born male, attracted attention when he came out as transgender while serving as student body president at American University. He now works at the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, and on Thursday night he appeared on-stage in Philadelphia to voice his support for Hillary Clinton.
“My name is Sarah McBride and I am a proud transgender American,” McBride told the crowd at the DNC. “Today in America, LGBTQ people are targeted by hate that lives in both laws and hearts.”
Gay and transgender Americans may encounter bigotry in the U.S., but McBride certainly didn’t see any Thursday night, as his speech was met with tremendous applause from the DNC crowd. (RELATED: DNC Transitions Female Restrooms To All-Gender Ones)
McBride is the first transgender individual to officially speak at a major party’s nominating convention. Jenner spoke in Cleveland during the RNC, but it was while attending a brunch hosted by the American Unity Fund rather than as part of the main event.
McBride’s speech represents a seismic shift on gay and transgender rights within the Democratic Party in just a few years. Hillary Clinton only endorsed gay marriage three years ago, but that issue already seems far in the rear-view mirror. This year, the Obama administration began an aggressive push on transgender rights when it issued a decree that all public schools must allow students to use whatever bathroom they want, regardless of their birth sex.
“Will we be a nation where there’s only one way to love, only one way to look, and only one way to live, or will we be a nation where everyone has the freedom to live openly and equally?” McBride said.
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