TRANSCRIPT: TransLash Podcast Episode 11, ‘The Inauguration and Trans Rights’

Imara Jones: Hi, fam. Happy New Year. Welcome to the TransLash Podcast, a show about news and culture from a trans perspective. I’m your host, Imara Jones. It’s so good to be back here with you in 2021. I really hope that you had a restful holiday because as you all know, the start of this year has been anything but.

There’s some huge news though, drumroll… Trump is out and the Biden-Harris Administration has begun. That’s why this week we’re taking a look at what this means for trans people and other historically marginalized communities and sitting down with a new player in politics, who’s making unprecedented waves for us already. First, I speak with Danielle Moodie, who hosts the shows Woke AF and democracy-ish, about this political moment and what lies ahead.

Danielle Moodie: So my hope is for that, that we take the lessons and the trauma that we’ve learned over the last four years and we turn them into sustained progress.

Imara Jones: Plus, you’ll hear from the highest-ranking openly trans elected official in history, Sarah McBride, who recently started her term as State Senator in Delaware.

Sarah McBride: You know, the old saying is, “It’s hard to be what you can’t see.” And so as a child, the idea that I could live my truth and dream big dreams all at the same time, that did not seem like it was in the cards.

Imara Jones: But before we dive into the news, we’ll start, as always, with a moment of Trans Joy.

For trans people, finding an affirming and safe space to get medical care, or even a haircut can be challenging. That’s why I’m so excited about TransAtlas. It’s an online directory for trans people in New York City, listing trans-competent and -friendly resources. TransAtlas covers everything from therapists and doctors to lawyers, religious institutions, addiction support, and even hair removal. Gotta give them a call.

It’s a much-needed resource and could be used as a model to connect trans people with supportive resources across the country. Micah Domingo led the effort to create TransAtlas at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, the largest provider of trans health care in the United States, based in New York City.

Micah Domingo: When I started transitioning about 10 years ago, I only knew about basically like two therapists. I ended up going to one of those therapists, who ended up being terrible. And she told me that I wasn’t trans enough to get a letter of support for my hormones. So having the wrong information or having limited information can really lead to negative health outcomes for trans patients and trans people all over the world and all over the country. I really hope that people who use this resource feel empowered. The whole point was to create a tool where folks could feel like they could make really bold and good choices for themselves. 

Imara Jones: Thank you, Micah, for your vision and dedication to our community. You and your colleagues at Callen-Lorde are Trans Joy.

And now we turn to The News, which has somehow been even more head-spinning in these first few weeks of 2021. Despite an attempted coup by a fascist, white supremacist mob to hold our democracy hostage, Joe Biden was officially sworn in as our new President yesterday, thank God, which means that things are about to change quite a bit in the nation’s capital. Here to help us understand what that looks like and to process all the chaos that’s been happening, as well as to look forward to what is to come, is the one and only Danielle Moodie. I am so thrilled to have her on today’s show.

Danielle is the incredible host of the news podcast, Woke AF daily, and co-hosts the popular podcast, democracy-ish. Her insightful, sharp and unapologetic political commentary regularly appears on news networks like MSNBC, and in popular outlets like ZORA Magazine, Vogue, and The Atlantic, among others. Having also served as LGBTQ Policy Advisor at the Center for American Progress in Washington, and fighting for legislation in Congress on behalf of the National Wildlife Fund and New York City.

Danielle is someone I turn to to better understand what’s happening in DC, because she has one of the keenest political minds I know. That’s why I’m delighted to have her on the show today. Danielle, welcome.

Danielle Moodie: Oh, my goodness, thank you so much for that introduction. I’m blushing over here.

Imara Jones: Well, you should be, you should be. There’s so much for us to unpack and talk about, but I wanted to first get your gut and emotional reaction now that we’re two weeks out from that siege and sacking of the Capitol on January 6. I saw on Twitter, you posted a video which said that you were outdone by what happened. And I could relate to that. Because, for me, Capitol Hill is where I lived. It’s my old neighborhood.

It’s where I’ve been countless times as a staffer, both in the executive branch, and in the legislative branch. And there are places that those people got that I have never even been in my life. I’ve never been on the floor of the Senate, for example. And just to see all of that happen, and to see it happen under the guise of an anti-democratic, racist, anti-semitic anti-LGBTQ mob, is one that I’m still honestly absorbing. And so as a person who has spent an equal, if not more time, up there. I’m wondering how you’re absorbing it as a Black queer woman?

Danielle Moodie: You know, Imara, it was so traumatic to watch this unfold. We’re collectively as a nation have been tuned into this presidency, I think in a way that we have never been before, right? Because of a pandemic, we’re all inside and so glued to our screens, whatever that screen is, and to watch this place that I took such pride in bringing my parents to.

I can remember the first day arriving on Capitol Hill to work and coming up the escalators of South Capitol, and this immense pride as a child of immigrants just washed over me, as I’m walking through the halls of history, and to see it desecrated in such a way, to watch the arrogance, the rage that I felt bubbling up inside of me, is really something that I hope soon to forget, but doubtful that that will be the case. It was with immense disgrace, that I watched the scenes unfold, and even now, weeks removed, as we see more video with more angles, just to see how arrogant and gross and… The images are so disturbing, in a way that this 1-6 will be a stain on America for generations to come. And I hope, my hope is that it will be a cautionary tale, right?

To not ignore white violence, to not ignore the fact that these people thought that they were being led by a President of the United States that told them to ransack our nation’s capitol, to destroy our democracy in his name, as if he was some type of king. And the fact that they would saunter through this place that has such a legacy, such history, with such disregard and disrespect, was really as a Black queer woman, just so unbelievable, but yet so believable, because they had been taught that.

Imara Jones: Yeah, and I think that for me, one of the things that’s drawing, I’m still processing it, and I think that it’s important for us to begin our conversation, because we’re going to talk about the administration and policy. But this is how the administration is actually starting. It’s starting in a capital, that’s an armed camp because of this. But for me, one of the things that just keeps occurring to me is that what we saw is the violence that is turned against our communities in various ways.

So like the massive numbers of trans people who are murdered and the fact that hate crimes have been off the charts for the past four years, have been breaking records year on year, we saw that violence that is sort of at work in our communities actually turned on what are supposed to be the enduring symbols of American goodness, right, and the best of what we’re supposed to be even though the place was built by slaves, but you know, what we are working towards, and to see that violence unleashed in such an ugly way it was, it was jarring in a way that I, it’s hard for me to describe. It’s like, we experienced the atoms of that violence over the past four years in ways that are large and small. But then it just got concentrated in one place for us all to see. And it was terrible.

Danielle Moodie: Our community has been terrorized for generations, right, for centuries, and the way in which we’re met with force, right? I know that folks say that we should not compare what transpired on 1-6 to the uprisings for our lives that took place in the summer of 2020. Because we need to compare white violence to white violence, because there is no comparing white violence to a Black liberation movement. At the same time, it’s hard not to look at the stark contrast with which we are treated with as a community.

You know before the protests took place for Black Lives Matter for George Floyd, for Ahmaud Arbery, for Breonna Taylor, Rashard Brooks and so many others, before that happened, downtowns were being boarded up, stores were being boarded up. Because the assumption is that when when we fight for our liberation that violence ensues. And what’s funny is that history tells us that the only time violence ensues is when white people decide that they do not want, right, they do not want to give us equality, and that’s when violence ensues. We saw that in Kenosha in Wisconsin, with Kyle Rittenhouse shooting and killing two protesters and then somehow becoming the martyr of the right.

We are so broken in so many ways. But what I recognize, you know, as we lived through the last four years of Donald Trump and all of his projections, Donald Trump is a manifestation of white supremacy and their projection out on to Black people and the Black community. Everything they say that we are, they embody tenfold. And that’s something that we never have a real deep conversation about, right? When you talk about violence, when you talk about laziness, when you talk about untrustworthiness. All of these things, if you look throughout our history of the mob violence, of lynching, of rapes, of torture, of murder, right, of the Madoffs of the world, is scamming people out of billions of dollars, but they’re considered white collar criminals.

You look at how they disrupted the housing industry and created like massive economic devastation, and then no one goes to jail for it, right? Like you just watch these things and you recognize that the insidiousness of white supremacy is so embedded in our society. And what we saw on 1-6, was that playing out almost as if it was some type of Shakespearean tragedy.

Imara Jones: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Very Shakespearean. It reminds me of the last scene of King Lear when everything is trashed. And that’s kind of where we are. I mean, one other thing I wanted to say before moving on to where we’re going is the fact that one–a part of the white supremacist project is gender and assault on gender. And as a part of that an assault on LGBTQ rights.

Because in really crass terms, white supremacy sees anything that lowers the “white birth rate,” in quotes, as a threat and as deviant. And so the push against women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and now increasingly trans rights is a part of the white supremacist project. And I think that we have to remember that, that the white–ironically, that the white supremacist vision isn’t only about white people, it actually is quite intersectional. It is about maintaining white patriarchy, which is a massive project. On this issue of where we’re going. You are a really keen political analyst, like you have a great mind for that. I’m wondering if you can put on that hat through the lens of all the progress that our community needs to make both racially and on things like the Equality Act, and on the ability for LGBTQ people to participate in American life as equals.

What do you see the road ahead is for that, in political analysis terms? We know that Biden’s is going to come forward with a whole bunch of executive orders, already is going to name Rachel Levine, who is the Secretary of Health for Pennsylvania to be the Assistant Secretary of Health, the first ever trans person to be nominated for a Senate confirmed position. And we know that, you know, he’s going to introduce the Equality Act in the first 100 days, but he faces a really divided Senate and a Senate that is going to be facing an impeachment trial. And Nancy Pelosi has a razor-thin margin. So within all of that blender, where does your mind go in terms of what the prospects are and what we need to be paying attention to?

Danielle Moodie: I mean, we have a lot of repair that needs to be done in this country and the Biden-Harris administration is facing pandemics on multiple levels, from racial injustice to the Coronavirus to our economic devastation because of the Coronavirus and because of the Trump administration, not to mention the issues of climate change that we are also fighting against that we haven’t done anything about in the last four years.

So what I want for folks to recognize is that the Trump administration was able to roll back in their first 100 days, essentially every bit of progress that the Obama administration had created for the LGBTQ community. And I think that It is going to be incumbent upon this administration to make clear signals like they did with Rachel, like they’ve done with a lot of their Cabinet picks, a lot of folks to be representative of the America that we want to live in, right? This is going to be both a very grounded administration as well as one that is aspirational. We haven’t had aspiration, we haven’t had inspiration in years. And what I realized throughout, you know, the Trump administration is just how devastating that is in and of itself, right, it’s hopelessness that leads a lot of our community to suicide, to despair. These signals over the next 100 days, the executive orders that will be rolled out, because we don’t have time to waste to battle with obstructionist Republicans, because we know that that is still going to be very clear, if not more rambunctious than they were during the Obama years, if you can imagine that. And so I think that one, I want the LGBTQ community to be inspired by the opportunity to be removed from the margins and put back into the mainstream where we belong, right.

But I also want us, I want every marginalized community to provide this administration with a bit of grace as well, because they are dealing with so much that if we don’t see things happen that we need to happen, within the first 100 days, we know that we have four years ahead of us. And so I want folks to also recognize that they’re not going to turn water into wine in the first 100 days, that there is a lot of damage, a lot of excavation that will be happening at the same time. So I want us to be both inspired by this administration and the signals that they’re making, but also provide them with the room that they need, because there’s so much that they’re going to be dealing with come the first 100 days.

Imara Jones: Yeah, I think that that’s right. One of the things that is really important, I think, for our community, I know you would agree, is, you know, sustained political participation over the next four years, to stay involved. But there’s also as you know, a lot of cynicism about the system, about being involved in political decision making.

And as a person who has spent her entire career in so many different ways and levels, I’m wondering if you can talk about why you think from your experience, again, as a Black immigrant, queer woman, why you think it’s important to be involved in politics? And what would you say to a room of people who are like, well, there’s no difference, and it’s just going to be the same and we just need to burn the whole thing down, who cares about participating?

Danielle Moodie: I mean, look, I vacillate between those two things all the time, burning it all down and wanting to reconstruct it, right, better and stronger. But I would say to those people that say that nothing is ever going to change, I would point to Georgia, I would point to Arizona, I would point to Philadelphia, I would point to Michigan. And I would remind people that in 2020, in the height of a global health pandemic, that Black people, once again, save this country from itself, turned out in historic numbers, right. To, so to say that nothing will ever change, well, we changed it. We stopped fascism from coming to America. Right?

It came, and it began to spread its wings. And through our participation and determination, we cut it off. Right. And so I think that people have to understand the power that they have, you know, Barack Obama, I think, in one of his campaign rallies in Georgia, said people always say, you know, “Oh, nothing will ever change.” And he goes, have we ever voted in historic numbers consistently? Right, in between presidential elections? Have we been so keen to be participating at our local, state and federal levels consistently? No. So how is it that we can possibly say that things don’t change? Well, when we show up every four years, when, in fact, we need to show up every year. So I think that it is important for us to recognize our power. It’s why I do the work that I do, because my family came to the United States from Jamaica, because they wanted to create a better life and opportunity for their kids and for their future grandchildren–me, right.

And so I felt like it was my responsibility, then, if my family were was able to get in through a window that then I, if I had the chance, was going to kick the door in, right, and was going to take up space. And I think that it is important for all of us to recognize that one of the ways in which we stay in the margins is because we don’t take up space. sistent Lee, and I love the term “show up and show out.” And I want us to show up and show out all the time, not just when things are bad, but when they are good because we have the power to make them better.

Imara Jones: Yeah, I think that that’s a really good point. I think Andrea Jenkins also said on this program as well, that if you didn’t have power, people wouldn’t be trying to convince you so much that your power and your vote neither existed nor mattered, right, like there’s a lot of energy in voter suppression. And if it didn’t matter, then there would be no reason to do that.

Danielle Moodie: Ain’t nobody going to try and steal something that ain’t valuable.

Imara Jones: That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. 

Danielle Moodie: That I mean, that’s, that is just basics, right? Nobody is coming up to you to try and steal something off of your back that they don’t find value in. So what we have to remind ourselves is, yes, we are up against systemic racism, systemic violence, all of these traumatic things, right, that have been embedded in our democracy, which is what bore our democracy out off of our ancestors’ backs.

But the reality is, is that white people have been living in fear for generations, because of Black power. What happens when Black people recognize just how powerful they are? Right? And collectively decide we’ve had enough. That’s what happened in 2020. And my hope is that it will be consistent, right, that people will consistently be reminded and inspired that if we weren’t as big of a deal as we are ain’t nobody would pay us any mind. 

Imara Jones: Right. 

Danielle Moodie: And that’s, that’s just the truth. 

Imara Jones: That’s right. Lastly, when you look out over the next four years, with all your different hats on that you have, what are you hopeful about? What do you think, is the hope in the next four years and where we could be and, you know, 2025? And what are you worried about? 

Danielle Moodie: You know, I tell people on Woke AF all the time that I struggle with hope, I do. It ss something for me that I that I struggle with, because I’m a realist, right. And there’s so much that we see that is so real and so broken, and so bad, that it is at times hard to create and manifest even that mustard seed of hope. And so what I am hopeful of is that people will be inspired by our historic Madam Vice President, that little girls will see themselves reflected back, and that there will be this recharge, in women of color, all women of color, to really own their power, right and see her as a beacon of what is to come and what is possible, again, when we come together as a community and get the job done, which we consistently do.

So my hope is that these next four years won’t erase the last four, but that they will provide a blueprint from how we move forward, but that we will constantly be taking the lessons that we learned from the Trump administration and not trying to erase them, but trying to learn from them. And that’s what I hope that this administration will do. And that’s what I hope that we will do as a society, is not just try and turn the page or turn a blind eye or do any of those things that try and pretend that what we just lived through didn’t happen, right? Because that’s its own type of gaslighting, different than what they have done.

But what we’re trying to do to ourselves as a means to, you know, quote, unquote, “move forward.” So my hope is for that, that we take the lessons and the trauma that we’ve learned over the last four years and we turn them into sustained progress. What I am nervous about is the fact that we are still looking at this Republican Party as if they are normal, as if they are not a clan, as if they are not terrorists, as if they’re going to go away just because Donald Trump goes away, I think that they’re going to be bolder and brasher, and that we’re all going to need to be on heightened alert. And that until there is accountability for their wrongdoing, until there is accountability for their viciousness, then we’re going to live in that cycle. And so that is the fear that I have. 

Imara Jones: Well, here’s to hope over fear and the next time ahead, as you say, it is hope that actually led to so much change over the past year, and in particularly the last two months. So we will hold on to the hope that’s in your vision even as we might struggle to hold on to that. I think it’s the only thing that’s going to change anything even as precarious as it is.

Danielle, thank you so much for taking the time to join us and to share your insights. And I want to urge everyone to of course, listen to Woke AF, for obvious reasons that everyone will know after having listened to you. I’m so grateful. Thank you so much.

Danielle Moodie: Thank you so much. I appreciate you.

Imara Jones: That was Danielle moody. She hosts the popular podcast Woke AF daily, and the podcast democracy-ish. She is also a frequent commentator on MSNBC.

And now it’s time for Transform, the part of our show where we elevate changemakers in our community, who are innovating and creating the future for all of us, Transform takes us into their world. Today we’re talking to a change maker who’s been breaking barrier after barrier for trans people in politics. Just this past November, Sarah McBride was elected to the State Senate in Delaware, and is now the highest-ranking openly trans elected official in US history.

She also holds the distinction of being the first openly trans person to speak at a major party convention in 2016. Or, to intern at the White House. Having held posts at leading nonprofits such as the Center for American Progress, and the Human Rights Campaign, Senator McBride was instrumental in getting protections for trans people added to Delaware’s nondiscrimination laws, and has also lobbied Congress to pass the Equality Act.

She’s only 30, which means she’s just getting started. Thank you so much for joining us, Sarah State Senator of the First District of Delaware McBride. I’m so glad that you were able to take the time out to join us today.

Sarah McBride: Thank you so much. I love it as my middle name. That’s great.

Imara Jones: It’ll introduce a resolution on the first day. I want to talk to you for so many reasons. One, because you are a history-making figure. But also, because you are probably the trans person who is closest to the now-President, he has referred to you as an honorary Biden. And within that context of knowing both, him having worked for his late son, Beau, former Attorney General of the State, I’m wondering if you can just give us any insight on why you believe trans people should have faith that Joe Biden will live out his commitments to fight for equal rights and human rights for our community?

Sarah McBride: Well, first off, I’ve had the opportunity, like so many Delawareans, to know Joe Biden through much of my life, Delaware’s a small state. And there’s a saying that everyone’s dated, mated, or related. And we’re all related to Joe Biden in some form or fashion, according to him. And through that, I’ve had the opportunity of seeing him up close, I first really got to know Joe Biden beyond the headlines and the news stories. When, as you mentioned, I was working for his son, Beau Biden.

You know, Vice President Harris, when she was nominated to be Vice President talked about how she first got to know Joe Biden through the eyes of Beau. And that’s true for me. And I saw his compassion. I saw his big heart, I’ve seen in conversations with him personally, the tears in his eyes when we talk about violence against Black transgender women, I’ve heard the passion in his voice when we talk about the need to pass the Equality Act. And again, I’ve seen that big heart from him, Dr. Biden, and so many of the Biden family who I’m proud to call friends, when I came out to them as trans. They understand these issues, they understand the importance and the urgency of this fight. And I think, you know, it’s difficult to deprioritize people’s stories and needs when you know them up close. And I think for Joe Biden, that commitment is personal.

It’s personal, because I think in many ways he’s carrying forward Beau Biden’s legacy and Beau, before he passed away, worked with us and put his political capital and political brand on the line in support of a gender identity nondiscrimination bill here in Delaware back in 2013 and I think in many ways, Joe Biden’s commitment is not just personal, is not just based in relationships, it’s not just based on his own values. It’s based in his very real sense that he’s carrying on his late son’s legacy. I think that we now have someone in the White House who will be a fearless and, and and staunch champion of our lives and our dignity.

Imara Jones: Yeah, it sounds when you talk like the following, it reminds me of this that when we experienced tragedy in our lives, it can have two impacts that either takes us deeper into our humanity, or takes us away from our humanity. That sounds like what you’re describing is that the tragedy in his life has actually deepened his humanity and made him more sensitive and open to the experiences similarly that people have had along those tragic lines and wanting to do something about it.

I think that’s really important insight. Of course, now, the proximity and the election in your own right, that you have is the result of a really long journey throughout your entire life, becoming active in politics, as a pre-adolescent, you know, as a tweenager. And I’m wondering if you can just talk to us about when you first knew that you had political ambition?

Sarah McBride: It’s a good question. You know, I first got interested in politics, because I was really interested in architecture, I thought I wanted to be an architect growing up. I still think architecture is one of the most beautiful forms of art. And as a young person, very young person, I mean, I was probably 6, 5, 6, 7 years old, wanting to be an architect when I grew up. I started researching different buildings. And among the buildings that I was researching, I was researching the Capitol and the White House.

And in that research, of course, started reading about all of the history that had occurred in those buildings, all of the change that had been made, because people in those buildings met the courage and the persistence of advocates and activists outside of those buildings, to bring about seemingly impossible change. And I think as I was simultaneously grappling with my own identity, as I was simultaneously coming to terms with the fact that there was something about me that this world neither understood nor accepted, the realization that politics could be a place where you could deepen our understanding of our humanity and our diversity and widen the circle of opportunity and equality and justice, it led me to want to get involved. It led me to want to participate in in the public square, in order to make more space for more people to live fully and authentically.

Whether or not that included myself at that point seemed like an open question. But I thought if I could at least help change the world, for others and my community for others, it would perhaps heal the pain and address the incompleteness that I was feeling as a young trans person in the closet.

Imara Jones: It’s so fascinating, just hearing you talk about the earliest connection of your political ambition to buildings. And I’m just struck by of course, what happened earlier in the month in the Capitol where the place that inspired you was, was sacked by a mob. It is interesting, this connection between buildings in our imagination, which, I wonder what happened to other young people who might have similar ideas and ambitions that you did. You realized you have this ambition to get involved and to change, inspired by buildings, transformed into an interest in American politics. Was there ever a time when you felt that those ambitions couldn’t be realized or would be undermined by your transness?

Sarah McBride: Absolutely, you know, first, I’d say what brought me into my interest in politics wasn’t the building so much, but what was occurring in them. And I think that that actually goes to the outrage that I, and I think so many people, felt when we saw white supremacists and insurrectionists going into the Capitol, invade the Capitol and seize the floors of both the Senate and the House because it wasn’t about the the physical damage to those buildings. It’s it’s not about the grandeur of those buildings. It’s not about the the beauty of those buildings that is particularly inspiring, it’s what can go on inside of them when politics is done, right? And what was so outrageous about that insurrection, again, was not the property damage by any stretch of the imagination, it was the disruption of the democratic process, it was the disruption of the peaceful transfer of power.

It was the the notion that a white supremacist mob could stop the democratic will of a diverse electorate from being heard and implemented. That was what was outrageous. To your actual question, for my entire life, the idea that I could be out and have a role to play in our body politic, the idea that I could be out and not just run for office, but you know, have a meaningful seat at the table, it seems so impossible that it was almost incomprehensible. You know, the old saying is, “It’s hard to be what you can’t see.”

And so as a child, the idea that I could live my truth and dream big dreams all at the same time, that did not seem like it was in the cards. And so for a long time I think, like so many people, the sense that I could not find a community that I loved, that loved me back, that I might not be able to find a partner, who loved me and who I loved and the fear that I might not be able to do work that I love, all of those fears combined to keep me very much in the closet for the first 21 years of my life.

Imara Jones: And since you were able to tell the world about the fact that you’re trans. What surprised you the most?

Sarah McBride: I think there are two things that have surprised me since coming out. The first on a micro level, which, without question to me is informed by my privilege, all of the privileges, from my white privilege, to my economic privilege to my educational privilege, the list goes on. On a micro level, though, the thing that most surprised me was that when confronted with something new, when confronted with an identity and an experience that so many in my own community here in Delaware, hadn’t ever thought about and certainly has struggled to understand when confronted with that… The vast majority of people responded with compassion, and love and acceptance.

That surprised me, because my fear was the exact opposite. On a macro level, what has surprised me is the amount of change that we have seen since I was a kid, change that, that while not nearly enough, certainly not evenly felt across our community, is though change that once seemed so impossible, that it was incomprehensible. And the knowledge of that change is possible, the knowledge that we have, individually and collectively brought about seemingly impossible change. That fact gives me hope for what we can and what we will achieve moving forward.

Imara Jones: Yeah, I think that that’s right, I think it’s really important for us to realize, even at the same time, that we’re in the year, or have just come out of the year rather, of the highest numbers of trans murderers ever documented, that at the same time, alongside of that, is this tremendous amount of progress, which is the hope in the moment and our ability to be able to hold those contradictions at the same time and build off of the positiveness is, is what’s going to lead us into the future.

Speaking of which, when we look back over your long career and politics, you know, at one point in your life, you won’t be in politics, either through retirement or some other decision. And we don’t know how long that career is going to be. There’s lots of speculation about how long your career will be all to the upside. And I’m sure people will understand why that is after hearing this. But whenever we get to that point of Sarah McBride, having left the political stage, what is it that you hope people will remember and know about you?

Sarah McBride: That’s a difficult question to answer. But it’s a great question. I think in many ways, when I was young and in the closet, the struggle with who I am forced me to grapple with some really existential questions long before so many other people are forced to grapple with them. Right? That, the questions as someone who’s in the closet and looking at a life ahead of them potentially in the closet, it’s, it forces you to ask yourself some fundamental questions. Who am I? And at the end of my life, who will I have want to have been and what will I want to do and what change will I want to bring and what is a meaningful life?

I think so many of us when we’re in the closet struggle with that question, what is a meaningful life? I’ve certainly come to the conclusion that a meaningful life is an authentic life, a meaningful life is a life spent leaving the world fundamentally better than you found it. And a meaningful life is doing what brings you joy, is finding love. And none of those things are possible if you aren’t at, I believe at the end of the day, authentic to yourself. So at the end of the day, I certainly hope that my legacy is a legacy of authenticity. It’s a legacy of political courage. It’s a legacy of meaningful change on a whole host of issues, because I think for me that my governing philosophy is informed by the Audrey Lorde quote, that there’s no such thing as a single issue cause because no one lives single issue lives. And I hope at the end of the day, when I look back upon my career, or others look back upon my career, that it’s the story of, of me joining with others, to bring about significant change.

I hope it’s the story of a deepening understanding of We the People and whatever role I can contribute to that. And I think, though, that your question, raises another point, though, which is that none of us know, not only how long our careers are, but none of us know how long we have on this earth. That was a question that I came face to face with, when I lost my husband, Andy, to cancer. And I think my mentality has been, we have to feel that sense of urgency when we ask people to sit back and allow for a slow conversation to take place before we’re treated with dignity or granted opportunity.

We’re asking people to watch their one life pass by without the respect and fairness that they deserve. And so from my perspective, I can’t be thinking about 20 years down the road, I have to be thinking about what change can I help bring right now? Because both people need it, and because I don’t know how long I’ll have to help contribute to that change. So I need to seize the moment, and do as much as I can right now.

Imara Jones: Well, I think that we can say, from what we’ve observed from you already, that you are living everything that you hope to be remembered for. I know that we have an extreme amount of pride in who you are and what you’re doing, and look forward to seeing what more you will accomplish. And continue to send you all the best as you live an authentic life where you are devoted to making the world a better place. Thank you so much.

Sarah McBride: Thank you so much for having me.

Imara Jones: That was Sarah McBride, who recently became a State Senator in Delaware, and consequently, is the highest-ranking openly trans elected official in the history of the United States.

Thank you for joining me on the TransLash podcast. Listen all the way through to the end of this show for something extra. I’m Imara Jones. If you liked what you heard, please go to Apple Podcasts to rate and review us.

You can listen to TransLash wherever you get your podcasts. Check us out on the web at to sign up for our newsletter. Follow us on Twitter, and Instagram at @translashmedia, like us on Facebook, and tell your friends and family.

TransLash podcast is produced by TransLash Media by Futuro Studios. The TransLash team includes Ruby Fludzinski, Oliver-Ash Kleine, Montana Thomas, Tyler Wilson, and Yannick Eike Mirko, our intern is Mirana Munson-Burke and the Futuro studios team includes Nicole Rothwell, Jess Alvarenga, Stephanie Lebow, Julia Caruso, Leah Shaw, Elisheba Ittoop and Gabriella Baez.

Our digital strategy is handled by Daniela Capistrano with support from Shawn Watkins. The music you heard was composed by Ben Draghi and also courtesy of ZZK Records.

Alright fam, what am I looking forward to next week? Believe it or not, it’s an entire week where Donald Trump won’t be president. Can you believe it? Can you believe that we have made it? This month has been turbulent. It will continue to be turbulent there will be things that will continue to unfold and surprise us. But just like the time when he wasn’t on Twitter, that first weekend was surprisingly restful. I can’t imagine what a week without Donald Trump is going to do for all of us and for our ability to be able to breathe.

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TransLash tells trans stories to save trans lives. As a trusted source for journalists, thought-leaders, movement activists, researchers, and those wanting to know about trans people, we produce narratives about and for the trans community—accurately and reliably. At a time when disinformation about trans people is being used to undermine democracy and human rights, TransLash Media serves as a beacon of hope through the voices that we share with the world.


TransLash tells trans stories to save trans lives. As a trusted source for journalists, thought-leaders, movement activists, researchers, and those wanting to know about trans people, we produce narratives about and for the trans community—accurately and reliably. At a time when disinformation about trans people is being used to undermine democracy and human rights, TransLash Media serves as a beacon of hope through the voices that we share with the world.


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