Transgender activist Barbra ‘Babs’ Casbar Siperstein died on Sunday (3 February) at the age of 76.
Throughout her life, Siperstein accomplished much and made a legacy for herself.
In 2009, the Democratic National Committee appointed her as a member. She became the first openly transender person serving on the committee.
She remained in that position until 2011, when they promoted her to the executive committee, where she served until 2017.
Two days before her death, a law went into effect in New Jersey named after her.
The Babs Siperstein Law allows transgender, non-binary, and other gender nonconforming people to request a change on their birth certificate from a registrar. Previously, they needed a doctor’s confirmation that their gender had been surgically changed.
Testaments to her legacy
Many people and organizations in New Jersey remembered Siperstein fondly.
Garden State Equality wrote a lengthy and touching tribute to her on Facebook.
‘She was an architect of our movement,’ they wrote, describing her as an icon like Harvey Milk and Sylvia Rivera.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who recently signed a bill into law mandating LGBTI-inclusive education, also released a statement about her.
‘In the long and proud history of New Jersey’s LGBTQ community, few voices spoke with the power and passion of Babs Siperstein,’ he said.
He also requested all state buildings and facilities fly their flags at half-mast in honor and remembrance of her.
Beyond her political impact, Siperstein also boasted a personal impact on people’s lives.
One mother wrote that Siperstein saved her son’s life. Her son was attending therapy for his depression regarding his transgender identity and subsequent bullying. That is where the pair met and connected, as she did with so many across New Jersey.