The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ rights organization, has endorsed Kristen Browde, a transgender woman, in her bid for New York’s 93rd Assembly District.
If elected, Browde would become the Empire State’s first out transgender state legislator.
Currently, there are only 26 transgender people elected to any type of office in the United States, and only four transgender individuals currently serving in state legislatures: Danica Roem of Virginia, Brianna Titone of Colorado, and Gerri Cannon and Lisa Bunker of New Hampshire.
Browde would also be the first woman to ever hold the seat, and is currently the only female candidate in the race.
Browde previously ran for Supervisor of New Castle, N.Y., in 2017, losing a fiercely fought contest by a little under 7 points. She is currently seeking election to the seat held by Assemblyman David Buchwald.
If Browde wins the Democratic primary on June 23, she’d be favored in the general election.
Browde, a former TV journalist, lawyer, and LGBTQ activist, was one of the people involved in the push for New York’s legislature to pass GENDA, which added protections for transgender, nonbinary and intersex individuals into the state’s human rights law.
She serves as the board president of the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York and is co-chair of the National Trans Bar Association.
“I have worked closely with Kristen Browde to make progressive change in New York for many years and have come to know what Westchester is learning: Kristen is a powerhouse who will fight for what she knows is right,” Alphonso David, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. “From working to pass GENDA, to her work as the board president of the LGBT Bar Association, Kristen has made positive change for our community at critical moments. The Human Rights Campaign is proud to endorse Kristen and look forward to working to ensure that New York has an accomplished advocate for the transgender community in the New York State Legislature.”
“I’m truly honored to have the support of the nation’s largest pro-equality organization, one that has been at the forefront of so many advances and one that has as its singular focus ensuring that true equality is achieved sooner rather than later,” Browde said in a statement. “Together we can — and will — continue the progress, no matter how the administration in Washington tries to block it.”
Browde has also been endorsed by Trans United Fund and the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which seeks to get LGBTQ people elected to office, in her bid for the Assembly seat.
“Kristen truly is an amazing candidate, with all the work she’s done fighting for our community,” Sean Meloy, the political director for the LGBTQ Victory Fund, told Metro Weekly. “She ran once, she learned [from her experience], and now she’s back, and she’s going to win. We’re very excited.”
“Kristen has lived her Democratic values for decades, and has showcased that on the campaign trail, even while COVID has really put a pall on a lot of the campaign activities,” Meloy added.
“In their last candidate forum, one of the Democrats said — and they’re all allies — ‘we’re moving from tolerance to acceptance.’ And Kristen had to educate and say, ‘We don’t just want to be accepted, we want equality. And that’s exactly what she’ll fight for in New York and nationwide.”
Daye Pope, the organizing director of Trans United Fund, praised Browde as an “exciting” candidate.
“Kristen’s been working on LGBTQ rights in New York for years, and was instrumental in passing GENDA. She’s been working closely with the governor and the legislature, even before running for office, to make it easier for same-sex couples to start a family,” Pope said. “Trans United Fund sees her as an exciting progressive candidate across the board, advocating for criminal justice reform, working on paid family leave, and pushing for gun reform. We’re excited to see her potentially make history as the first transgender lawmaker. It’s overdue for New York.”
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