July 28, 2016 at 1:29 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Transgender DNC delegates hold first-ever caucus meeting

transgender caucus, gay news, Washington Blade

Pennsylvania Physician General Rachel Levine attends the first meeting of the Democratic National Committee Transgender Caucus in Philadelphia on July 28, 2016. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

PHILADELPHIA — The first-ever formal meeting of transgender delegates to the Democratic National Convention took place on Thursday in Philadelphia.

Many of the 28 openly trans delegates to the convention attended the Transgender Caucus meeting that Mara Keisling, a long-time trans activist who sits on the Democratic National Committee’s platform committee, convened at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

“I am so blown away by this delegation,” said Keisling.

Pennsylvania Physician General Rachel Levine and Misty Snow, who is running against U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in November, both attended the meeting. Gay U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) spoke to the delegates before the Democratic National Committee’s LGBT Caucus meeting began.

“I’m almost speechless…at the turnout,” said Barbra Casbar Siperstein, a trans activist from New Jersey who is a member of the Democratic National Committee’s Executive Committee. “It’s such a sea change.”

The delegates who attended the Transgender Caucus meeting are among the 515 openly LGBT delegates or alternates to this year’s Democratic National Convention. They met hours before Human Rights Campaign National Press Secretary Sarah McBride will become the first openly trans person to speak at a major party convention.

Rev. Merrick Moise of Baltimore, who is a pledged Hillary Clinton delegate, told the Blade after the meeting that he is “honored” and “blessed” to attend the Democratic National Convention.

“This is a very profound moment in our history, in our community in general,” he said.

“I’m talking to people about our challenges and our successes in Baltimore,” added Moise. “I’m here on a mission for our community.”

Anita Green, a Bernie Sanders supporter from Missoula, Mont., is one of 21 pledged delegates from Montana.

She told the Blade after the Transgender Caucus meeting that she is “so honored to be here on behalf of Montana” because it shows that her state is “incredibly progressive.” Green also described the Democratic Party’s platform as “great.”

Trump described as ‘demagogue’

Caitlyn Jenner on July 20 criticized North Carolina’s House Bill 2 and other anti-trans laws as she spoke at an event the American Unity Fund held in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention. The Olympian who came out as trans in April 2015 has also spoken in support of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“He seems very much behind the LGBT community because of what happened in North Carolina with the bathroom issue,” Jenner recently told STAT, a medical publication in Colorado.

Both Levine and Green described Trump as a “demagogue.”

“He is the three-card Monty guy from 42nd and Eighth Avenue,” Moise told the Blade, noting he grew up in New York. “He can’t be trusted.”

transgender caucus, gay news, Washington Blade

From left; Marisa Richmond of Nashville, Tenn., and trans DNC Superdelegate Laura Calvo attend the inaugural meeting of the Transgender Caucus in Philadelphia on July 28, 2016. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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