DNC on the Passing of Barbra “Babs” Siperstein
February 4, 2019
DNC Chair Tom Perez released the following statement after the passing of Barbra “Babs” Siperstein, who served as the first openly transgender member of the Democratic National Committee:
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Babs Siperstein. Babs was a lifelong activist and a trailblazer for transgender people and the entire LGBTQ community. At last year’s signing of the bill that bears her name, Babs said she first got involved in politics because she saw LGBTQ people being treated as second and third-class citizens, and she resolved to do something about it. Today, thanks to her tireless courage, transgender New Jerseyans can now update the gender identity on their birth certificate without proof of surgery. The Babs Siperstein Law also makes New Jersey the fourth state in the country to add a non-binary birth certificate option.
“Babs devoted her life to fighting for equality, and the DNC will carry on her legacy by continuing that fight every day. Just last year, the DNC passed historic new rules expanding the definition of gender in delegate selection and caucus participation rules to better include gender non-binary and non-conforming Democrats. Our party and our country are stronger because of Babs’s leadership. And our hearts go out to her family, her friends, and all those who had the fortune of fighting alongside her.”
BACKGROUND ON DNC GENDER RULE CHANGES
New rules, passed first by the Rules and Bylaws Committee and subsequently by the full body of the Democratic National Committee, will update the existing DNC rules and bylaws to be inclusive of gender non-conforming Democrats. Prior rules required an equivalent number of self-identified men and women in DNC membership, committees, Vice Chairs, and presidential delegations. Additionally, some state caucuses required caucus-goers to declare male or female upon voting. The language adopted expands the definition of gender to ensure that gender non-conforming Democrats have the opportunity to freely identify without risk of being wrongly identified.