Pioneering Democrat Babs Siperstein has Died

Barbra “Babs” Siperstein, the first openly transgender member of the Democratic National Committee, died today, days after the “Babs Siperstein Law,” which allows individuals to change their gender identity on their birth certificate without proof of surgery, went into effect in New Jersey.

In 2009, DNC Chairman Tim Kaine appointed Jersey City native Ms. Siperstein, a longtime Democratic Party loyalist, the first openly transgender member of the DNC. She was appointed to the Democratic National Committee’s Executive Committee in 2011, where she served until October 2017.

She served as a superdelegate for Hillary Clinton at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Fuscarino and Siperstein.

“Babs was a towering figure in the LGBTQ community who worked tirelessly to advance the rights of transgender people over the last two decades,” wrote Christian Fuscarino, executive director of Garden State Equality.

“She was an architect of our movement, pioneering critical civil rights legislation here in New Jersey and, as the first openly transgender member of the Democratic National Committee, throughout our nation,” he added. “With Babs, we had an LGBTQ icon—among the likes of Harvey Milk, Sylvia Rivera, and Bayard Rustin—born and raised right here in the Garden State. With the Babs Siperstein Law in effect now, every transgender Jerseyan who updates their birth certificate will be reminded of Babs and her courage. Babs’ work has touched countless lives and will continue to do so, and we will ensure her legacy is remembered for generations to come.”

“Another sad loss but she lived to see some very important legislation passed in her honor,” said Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37). “A courageous life lived to make it better for others.

“A friend of over 15 years who always unconditionally had my back – a trailblazer in her own right who led us all towards the fight for marriage equality in 2009,” said state Senator Vin Gopal (D-11). “Rest In Peace Babs Casbar Siperstein.”

Signed by Governor Phil Murphy, the Babs Siperstein Law went into effect on Feb. 1.

For more, please go here.

And to read InsiderNJ’s 2018 treatment of Babs Siperstein – No. 1 on Jay Lassiter’s LGBQT Power List – please go here.

U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) called the dying Ms. Siperstein on Sunday.

Last year, Senator Booker wrote this, “Babs is a leader, a trailblazer, and a role model for an entire generation of New Jerseyans. If you don’t know her, you probably know someone touched in some way by her tireless activism. It’s an honor to know her, to work with her, and to call her my friend. Here’s to many more years of activism to come and to a legacy that has changed the lives of so many.”

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  • Raymond Buckley

    I have known, worked with and admired Babs for nearly two decades. The world lost a courageous warm hearted giving individual. So very sad.

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