A Call for a Better Tomorrow

Mar 12, 2018

Note: While Gender Spectrum provides resource lists of books, we do not generally single out titles for recommendation. However, it is important for all of us to share the stories of people who share our identities – those who have come before us, but also those working for equality today. Sarah McBride is one of the many people working to create a better today, as well as better tomorrow, for Transgender and Non-binary folks.

The first time Sarah McBride used the name “Sarah” on a formal, written document was on her application for an internship at the Obama White House.

Sarah became the first openly transgender person to work in any White House position. But leading in politics was hardly new to her. Since the age of 16 she had been deeply involved in state politics in her home state of Delaware, campaigning successfully for Jack Markell for state treasurer and later for Governor. But it was on the day that she ended her term as President of the student body at American University that Sarah decided she could no longer hide her true self.

On that day, Sarah posted a statement on Facebook headed, “The Real Me.” The post explained, “I’m transgender.”

In her new memoir, “Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss and the Fight for Trans Equality” Sarah McBride recounts these experiences and much more. She tells of the gripping fight for a transgender non-discrimination bill in Delaware, writes of her work for transgender visibility in the White House, and recalls her pride in being the first transgender person to speak at a major party’s national political convention.

But the book is much more than a tale of political struggles. It is also a deeply felt love story, with a tragic ending. Her husband Andrew Cray, a transgender man and fellow policy advocate, suffered with terminal cancer and died just four days after their wedding. The book provides a loving tribute to Andy as a person and outlines the importance and impact of his work for transgender people’s access to health care and equal treatment under the law.

“Tomorrow Will Be Different” provides a wealth of insights to engage those who work in social justice, with many thoughtful passages that connect the personal and the political. In one incident, after working for several weeks in the White House, Sarah realized that a close colleague did not know that she was trans, then finds out that several others also did not know. She writes that she felt oddly disappointed, despite having worked hard to “pass” in society. Later, she reflects on that feeling:

I realized that I was disappointed because I want people to know who I am because I’m proud of who I am.

I’m proud to be transgender.

Our identities matter. They help make us who we are and shape our outlook. Existing in them is a radical act, one that requires, in many instances, courage, hard work, and determination. I am a better person because of the experiences and insights that I’ve had because I’m transgender. I’m a more compassionate person than I was before I accepted that part of my identity.

I’ve joined a community of people who have made the empowering decision to live whole, complete lives. We have stood up to a society that tells us that we are wrong to live our lives to the fullest. It’s a daring act of authenticity. There is no doubt that society places unfair and unjust barriers in front of transgender people, but that is a flaw in society, not a problem with being transgender.

Sarah McBride’s insights on the push for transgender rights are valuable reminders of the importance of the struggle. At this critical juncture in the fight for transgender equality, “Tomorrow Will Be Different” contains important lessons for moving forward.

See more about Sarah and the book in her video: