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Transgender Americans talk Hillary Clinton
Publicity feature by Sarah McBride, hillaryclinton.com
2016-04-08

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Every year, the transgender community and our allies come together for Transgender Day of Visibility to celebrate the beauty and diversity of the transgender community, and to rededicate ourselves to combatting discrimination and securing equality for transgender people everywhere. Despite unprecedented visibility for the transgender community in media, popular culture, and politics, the reality remains that many trans people are still subjected to discrimination and violence simply for being who we are.

The stakes in this election could not be higher for the transgender community. That's why so many of us joined together last month to launch Trans United for Hillary, a national volunteer effort to educate, engage, and mobilize the trans community and our allies in support of Hillary Clinton. Hillary has a record of results for the trans community and has outlined the most detailed plan for trans equality ever proposed by a presidential candidate. She's called violence against transgender people—particularly trans women of color—a "national crisis," made passage of the Equality Act one of her highest priorities, and affirmed the humanity and dignity of trans lives.

We know that we need a president who will prioritize breaking down barriers for all Americans, including transgender people. On this Transgender Day of Visibility, many transgender people from across the country are proud to stand up, be visible, and fight for Hillary—because we know she's fighting for us.

Sarah McBride

Wilmington, Delaware

When did you first start caring about politics?

I've been volunteering for candidates since the age of 10. When I came out, my passion for equality became all the more real and personal. What do you tell friends or family who may not have made up their mind about who to support? The presidency is the hardest job in the world, and requires someone who understands that our problems cannot be boiled down to one source or one solution.

When you vote in this election, will you be thinking about a specific person or issue?

I'll be thinking of my late husband Andy. Andy was a transgender man and passed away a little over a year ago at the age of 28. When we found out that Andy's cancer was terminal, he asked me to marry him. We held our wedding on the roof of our building. Just four days later, Andy passed away. As an LGBT health advocate, Andy knew better than most the impact of the Affordable Care Act in expanding access and opening up health care to LGBT Americans. I'll be thinking about his work and the need to preserve and build on the Affordable Care Act when I vote. But I'll also be thinking about the lesson I learned from his passing. Andy had the courage to live true to himself at a young age. He was supposed to have three quarters of his life as his authentic self. But because of circumstances beyond his control, he had less than a quarter. Some have even less than that. Every day matters when it comes to building a world where every person can live their life to the fullest.

Why do you support Hillary?

She's the only candidate running to have delivered tangible progress for the transgender community when she reformed passport policies at the State Department and added gender identity to the department's employment policies. She's laid out a detailed and life-saving platform on LGBT equality, and has routinely and proactively spoken about our needs as a community to LGBT and non-LGBT audiences alike. More than anything else, I'm supporting Hillary because, like she says, she's not a single issue candidate, because we do not live in a single issue country. I know she has the skills, experience, and solutions necessary to move equality and opportunity forward for people of all backgrounds and identities in every state.

Blossom Brown

Jackson, Mississippi

When did you first start caring about politics?

When I started to transition from male to female. Prior to that, I felt like politics were not my forte. But as I began to experience discrimination in both the education and health system, I felt that it was time for me to care about politics and vote carefully for the candidate who would best address our needs and be more inclusive of the trans community.

What do you tell friends or family who may not have made up their mind about who to support?

That they should vote for Hillary because she is inclusive of all communities, and that she can continue to make the positive progress in Washington. I always remind them that we do not need bigots of any kind in the White House, and we also do not need a candidate who thinks that certain groups should be banned from the United States. We need to have Hillary in office fighting for the rights of all American people!

When you vote in this election, will you be thinking about a specific person or issue?

As a trans-health advocate, it means a lot to me that all transgender people get to receive the entire appropriate health care we are entitled to—that we are not discriminated against and that we are treated like human beings and not as animals in the health system. I am seeing too many of my trans brothers and sisters who are dealing with this.

Barbra Siperstein

Edison, New Jersey

When did you first start caring about politics?

Growing up in Jersey City, I was always surrounded by politics and was politically aware. It was not until after my wife of 34 years died suddenly in late 2001 that I realized how stigmatized and vulnerable I was as a single transgender person, and how necessary it was to involve myself in the political system in order to create change, assert civil rights, and gain societal respect.

What do you tell friends or family who may not have made up their mind about who to support?

I understand and share their fear, anger, and frustration. I tell them to clear the air and understand what is real and what is not, what is perceived may be partly true or not at all. I ask who is the one person who can step into the Oval Office prepared to act effectively from day one? Who has shown an effective learning curve and grown over the years? Who has done what she did as secretary of state and has a positive record of working with diverse people as a senator from New York?

When you vote in this election, will you be thinking about a specific person or issue?

I will be thinking about my grandchildren and the kind of world and opportunities they will have to enable for themselves and their families a happy, comfortable, secure and productive life, regardless of race, be they male or female, straight or gay, cis or trans gender.

Why do you support Hillary?

I believe that she wants to and is committed to doing the right thing. She has the experience, character, strength and learning ability to lead America better than any other candidate.

Lou Weaver

Houston, Texas

When did you first start caring about politics?

Eight years ago. When I started my cultural transition.

What do you tell friends or family who may not have made up their mind about who to support?

This is an important election and will have far reaching ramifications. In order to work towards equity for everyone, we need to elect the best candidate—and that is Hillary Rodham Clinton.

When you vote in this election, will you be thinking about a specific person or issue?

The futures of myself and my transgender siblings. The state of the country as a whole.

Why do you support Hillary?

I believe she is the best person to continue to move our country forward.

Zackary Drucker

Los Angeles, California

When did you first start caring about politics?

In fourth grade—the election of 1992: George Bush vs. Bill Clinton vs. Ross Perot. That was the first election I was consciously aware of, because I have a family who is solidly Democrat and they had been fairly disgusted of three terms with a Republican president. I remember watching the debates with my family, cutting newspaper clippings, and keeping them in a scrapbook!

What do you tell friends or family who may not have made up their mind about who to support?

If somebody hasn't made up their mind, it's important to at least stress the importance of voting Democrat. The war and hate mentality of Republicans is self-perpetuating, and it's stirring a pot of anti-American rage that is really dangerous for our future.

Why do you support Hillary?

I feel like beyond my personal rooting for Hillary and being a long-term supporter since her first senate race, as a member of the trans community, Hillary Clinton has such a solid plan for how to cement the rights of trans people in America, and women around the world. The rights of trans people and women is my number one priority in voting.

Ames Simmons

Atlanta, Georgia

When did you first start caring about politics?

I have always cared about politics, having been fortunate to have been raised with a strong commitment to civic responsibility and community leadership by two parents who had long federal service careers—and who imparted a similar love of policy and service to my community.

When you vote in this election, will you be thinking about a specific person or issue?

I absolutely voted in the Super Tuesday primary and will vote in the general election in November as a transgender person who cares very much about LGBTQ politics and policy in the U.S. I never gave any serious consideration to any candidate other than Hillary Clinton.

Why do you support Hillary?

I support Hillary because of her strong support of the LGBTQ community—and of trans issues in particular—and because she is tested and proven as a candidate who has the ability to get things done for our country. Hillary's ability to actually accomplish real and measurable progress for the trans community, who otherwise does not have sufficient statistical strength to get things done by ourselves, is significant. Hillary's commitment to progress in health care, to women's rights, to eradicating income inequality, to racial justice, are all deeply compelling factors in her candidacy.

Kimi Cole

Minden, Nevada

When did you first start caring about politics?

January, 2011. As my life was going through a major change, I became keenly aware of inequities toward transgender people. I decided to get involved in the political process and take a stand for fair treatment, rather than simply complaining from the sidelines.

What do you tell friends or family who may not have made up their mind about who to support?

I have gained tremendous respect for Secretary Clinton for her courage to tackle tough issues, her resilience in the face of brutal media scrutiny, and her overt commitment to proactively acknowledging and supporting the LGB and Transgender communities. #ImWithHer

When you vote in this election, will you be thinking about a specific person or issue?

In addition to the obviously dangerous challenges being foisted on the LGBT communities by conservative activists, it's also very important, to me, in an increasingly dangerous world, that we have a president who has a full grasp of the global stage, in order to comprehensively address challenges and dangers, while guiding our country forward.

Why do you support Hillary?

Hillary Clinton is the ONLY presidential candidate in 2016 with full understanding and ability to continue building on the progress realized during President Obama's administration.

Marisa Richmond

Nashville, Tennessee

When did you first start caring about politics?

When I was 4, my mother took me and my sister to see President Kennedy visit Nashville. We stood on the sidewalk in front of an old Texaco as the open limo motorcade went by. As he got right in front of me, the president turned and smiled and waved right at me. I have been a committed Democrat and political junkie ever since.

What do you tell friends or family who may not have made up their mind about who to support?

I respect my friends who "Feel the Bern," so I do not try to change their minds. But if I am asked why I am supporting Hillary, I mention her experience in a number of areas, especially foreign policy, her longstanding support for universal health care, and her work for human rights, including the passport gender change policy from her days as secretary of state. She was also a co-sponsor of the Trans Inclusive Hate Crimes bill when she was a senator.

Jay Brown

Cheverly, Maryland

Why Hillary?

Leading up to November and on Election Day, there's no doubt in my mind that Hillary Clinton is the best candidate. I'm a transgender man, a dad of two young daughters and a progressive committed to social justice. When I think about her record and her positions on trans and LGBT equality, on HIV and AIDS, on women's rights—on a range of issues that matter most to me—I know she is going to work hard building a better tomorrow and pushing forward on the issues that matter most.

Janice Covington

Charlotte, North Carolina

When did you first start caring about politics?

1972—working on the campaign for Billy Creel for North Carolina Labor Commissioner!

What do you tell friends or family who may not have made up their mind about who to support?

Vote Democrat and for Hillary!

Why do you support Hillary?

Because I feel she is the most qualified.

Meghan Stabler

Round Rock, Texas

When did you first start caring about politics?

I've always cared. It's part of the civic duty we have as citizens, but most importantly it's important to stand up for what is right, to stand up for those who can't, and ultimately, move America forward to be a more perfect union.

What do you tell friends or family who may not have made up their mind about who to support?

I lay out the candidates and what they care about. Not just lip service or media sound bites, but real honest policies backed with experience is what matters.

Why do you support Hillary?

Hillary and I have met a number of times, and I know, from the conversations we've had and the look in her eye, that she passionately cares about LGBT equality and transgender equality in work, life, and military service. She is the only candidate who cares deeply about ALL of us.

Diego Sanchez

Boston, Massachusetts

When did you first start caring about politics?

My passion for politics began as a 12-year-old child, delivering flyers to re-elect Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez ( D-TX-20 ), Texas's first Latino U.S. representative. I'm as fired up now as I was then!

What do you tell friends or family who may not have made up their minds about which candidate to support?

I tell friends and family members who are undecided about how to cast their vote for president three things: One: Register and vote, and get all of your friends to do the same. Two: Hillary Clinton must be our next president because of her public service experience, her passionate and fearless leadership, and her support of communities and people who cannot be forgotten and won't be by her. Three: These times are our most critical, and I will work hard to gain support from everyone I know or can meet.

When you caucus in this election, will you be thinking about a specific person or issue?

As an openly trans, aging, adopted, immigrant Latino man with roots in the deep South and New England, I will be thinking of LGBTQ elders and youth—especially trans and gender expansive youth of color. I know that with solid, supportive leadership under Hillary, we can not only have hope but live safely to end discrimination and with evidence to have even more hope for generations present and future.

Why do you support Hillary?

I support Hillary because I want our next president to be brilliant and brave, and she is both. Hillary will be a president who won't have to be taught to say the words "transgender" or "equality." I feel blessed to be a naturalized U.S. citizen, and I feel responsible for doing all I can to improve our nation for the people who will be here when I'm not. Supporting Hillary is an affirmative step toward that goal, part of plotting a path to make our nation safer for people who reflect the many intersecting aspects that comprise me.


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