Sarah McBride Ran For Office to Honor Her Late Husband's Memory. Now She's Making History in Delaware.
Photo credit: Barbara Proud
After Sarah McBride's husband, LGBTQ health lawyer Andy Cray, died of cancer in 2014, she vowed to live her life in a way that lives up to its heritage. Six years later, McBride was elected to the Delaware General Assembly on a platform of issues she cares about, such as paid family and sick leave for all workers, making him the first person in the country to publicly identify and identify as transgender Senator acts. When she is sworn in, she will become the highest-ranking elected transgender officer in the country. "Andy would be proud," McBride told ELLE.com, "but he would be the first to say work is never finished."
On this transgender day of remembrance, 30-year-old McBride is including ELLE.com in her decision to run for office - and what she wants to achieve in Delaware.
I've seen my home state of Delaware at its best. I owe my neighbors there for shaping me into who I am today and helping me through some of the toughest moments of my life, including getting out. But I also know where Delaware falls short, like families who go bankrupt because of insurmountable healthcare costs.
This is one of the biggest problems that keep Delawareans awake at night. I know because I've seen it firsthand. In 2014, I lost my husband Andy to terminal cancer. Before he died, we were fortunate to have comprehensive health insurance and an employer who was flexible and willing to give us the space and time so Andy could focus on his health and I could focus on being his caregiver . It allowed us to spend the little precious time he had left together. And yet, despite all this support, we barely survived. We faced surprise medical bills and struggled to balance our jobs.
Many people are not offered the same structure as Andy and me. Many people cannot face these challenges if their jobs are intact and they are saving in the bank.
Andy and I got married shortly after receiving his terminal cancer diagnosis. The wedding was beautiful. It took place on the roof of our home in DC with 50 of our closest friends and family. Four days after we exchanged our vows, he died.
Photo credit: Terry Borman
Since then I've been thinking to myself, "What would Andy do?" I try to live my life in a way that suits him and lives up to his heritage. Even before he was diagnosed with cancer, he was passionate about helping more people get the care they need. Andy was a transgender man, attorney, and attorney at the Center for American Progress. He spent his life pushing for change that in some cases he saw in his lifetime but in many cases never saw it. He was posthumously named "Champion of Change" by President Barack Obama for his contributions to LGBTQ health.
The topics I'm passionate about - and my sense of urgency to push for change - come from my relationship and my love for Andy. It is both his work and his life that inform me.
Photo credit: Kyle Grantham
In government, you can make changes in a number of ways for most people. My decision to run for office was based on hope and the knowledge that change can be made if you work hard enough. I ran my campaign on topics like paid family leave and medical leave. Nobody should have to decide whether to get along, get healthy, or stay healthy. This is a critical priority.
The support was incredibly touching when I won the election, especially from the parents of trans kids who sent me video messages from them celebrating the results. I hope that his race will convey a simple, but possibly life-affirming message to young people fighting for their place in this world: our democracy is big enough for them too.
Andy would be proud. But he would be the first to say that the work is never finished. Now the real hard work begins. I have never been so hopeful in our ability to make change and I believe that our democracy is worth fighting for.
Image Credit: Hearst Owned
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