Sarah McBride, author of “Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality,” discusses her time working as an intern in Obama’s White House and explains why she’s not discouraged by Trump’s rollback on regulations. Following is a transcript of the video.
Sarah McBride: My name is Sarah McBride and I am a proud transgender American.
My name’s Sarah McBride. I’m the National Press Secretary at the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organisation. After coming out as transgender while in college, I applied for and was eventually accepted into an internship in the Obama White House. And it was truly one of the most incredible experiences for me to walk into the White House as my authentic self. Even as an intern, I saw that my presence and the presence of other transgender people changed the way staffers and administration officials talked about transgender equality. Because at the end of the day an issue can no longer be abstract to you if you’re walking the halls or sitting across the conference table from a person impacted by those challenges.
There was no question that the Obama Biden administration was supportive of transgender equality from the start. But in the second term, we saw a degree of confidence and passion for trans equality that we had never seen by any administration in American history. And that was because that White House got to know transgender people. They got to see us in our full humanity. They got to see us and understand that our issues aren’t some luxury issue that you focus on once you deal with others. These are life and death issues for the trans community.
Now in the five years since I interned at the White House we’ve gone from a presidency of progress to a presidency of prejudice. Donald Trump and Mike Pence have governed the exact same way they campaigned, with bigotry and with bluster. Despite Donald Trump claiming that he would be a friend to the LGBTQ community as President, we’ve seen the exact opposite from his administration. Just a few months after taking office, they rescinded life-saving guidance promoting the protection of transgender students. They have appointed anti-equality extremists to administration positions on the federal bench. They have granted a sweeping licence to discriminate to government workers, federal contractors, and health care providers against LGBTQ people. And in one of his most shameful moves yet, the President, the commander in chief, targeted our own troops for his hate and discrimination with an unconstitutional dangerous and discriminatory ban on openly transgender service members.
It’s a reminder that our progress, our march toward a more perfect union, is never linear. Equality often comes in fits and starts but we’ve seen over the long course, over the long arch of history, that we do move forward. That no presidency can stand in our way or halt the momentum of our movement. That our voices are more powerful than a single politician.
And that’s why, even with Donald Trump in the White House, even with Mike Pence as Vice President, even with anti-equality politicians and far too many state legislators, we continue to open hearts, change minds, and move equality forward. We must never forget that change trickles up. That change will come not just from laws, but from hearts, minds, policies and practices, and more and more people saying that, “If my child were to come out as transgender, “the world that I’d want them to encounter “is a world of kindness, love and inclusion.”
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