Watch: Equality Advocate and Trans Activist Barbra Siperstein Remembered; Died at Age 76

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday February 5, 2019

Barbra Siperstein, who transitioned in mid-life with the full support of her cisgender wife Carole, and who was a prominent advocate for LGBTQ equality, died in New Jersey on Feb. 3 at age 76, reported the Associated Press.

Siperstein's long career of activism began after the New Jersey native had already led a full life, serving her country in the Army and running her own small business, according to a biographical entry at Wikipedia. The entry said that Siperstein had always felt "different," but it was not until the 1980s that she revealed herself as trans to her wife, Carole, whose support over the following two decades proved unflinching.

Among her other accomplishments as an equality advocate and activist for trans rights, Siperstein helped to create the Dallas Principles, which outlined a set of goals for LGBTQ legal and social parity. The eight points of the Dallas Principles showcased visionary and uncompromising beliefs and values, including "Separate is never equal," "Success is measured by the civil rights we all achieve," and "We will not leave any part of our community behind."

Siperstein served a vice president of Garden State Equality, an advocacy group established by Steven Goldstein in 2004. She was the first openly trans member of the Democratic National Committee, and served on the DNC's executive committee. In 2016, Saperstein was a superdelegate for presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

News 12 New Jersey reported that Siperstein died not long after a state law bearing her name was passed that allows New Jersey to change their gender designations on drivers' licenses without surgically transitioning. That law took effect only two days before Siperstein's death.

Her cause of death was not disclosed in the media, but reports said she died in the company of her family members.

Watch the News 12 New Jersey report below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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