PHILADELPHIA — Activist Sarah McBride got a warm reception Thursday as she became the first transgender person to speak at a major party’s nominating convention.
 
“I am proud to be a transgender American,” McBride said to loud applause from the Democratic National Convention crowd, with some in the audience standing to applaud her.
 
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She said she had come out as transgender only four years ago, as a 21-year-old college student. 
 
“At the time, I was scared. I worried that my dreams and my identity were mutually exclusive,” McBride said.
 
“Since then, I have seen that change is possible,” she continued. “But despite our progress, so much work remains.”
 
 
While McBride did not mention specific policies, North Carolina has come under fire for a controversial law that requires transgender people use restrooms that correspond with the gender on their birth certificates.
 
“Will we be a nation where there's only one way to love, one way to look, one way to live? Or will we be a nation where everyone has the freedom to live openly and equally, a nation that's stronger together?” McBride said, evoking Clinton’s campaign slogan. “That's the question in this election.”
 
LGBT rights have taken center stage at both the Republican and Democratic national conventions. 
 
Last week in Cleveland at the Republicans’ nominating event, venture capitalist Peter Theil became the first openly gay man to address a Republican National Convention audience.
 
Several speakers mentioned protecting LGBT individuals, with one convention speaker at one point declaring “LGBTQ lives matter,” a historic moment for the GOP convention.
 
Republicans working on pro-LGBT issues lobbied lawmakers in Cleveland for the Republican convention, and American Unity Fund sponsored an event featuring reality TV star and transgender activist Caitlyn Jenner at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
 
In Philadelphia, many speakers brought up gay and transgender equality, and Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin was given a prime-time speaking slot Thursday.