Babs is Back!: The Babs Siperstein Law & More

| Oct 22, 2018
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Babs with Mayor Reed Gusciora of Trenton, Political Pundit Jay Lassiter, and Governor Jim McGreevey.

Under normal circumstances 2018 would have been a banner year for me personally.

Imagine having a piece of legislation named after you — in a good way! The “Babs Siperstein Law” is a state of the art law that allows transgender and gender variant New Jerseyans to change the gender on their birth certificates without requiring surgery or even medical attestation. It even allows for an option for X for those who identify as ‘non-binary.” Assembly prime sponsor Valerie Huttle invited me to the floor of the Assembly, where I had the honor to cast her “yes” vote, i.e. press the green button on her desk, after being introduced by Assemblyman Burchizelli who initiated the naming of the bill in my honor.

I was invited to a private signing of the bill by Governor Phil Murphy accompanied by my daughter, grandson and a couple of LGBT friends who are political proteges and champions of transgender equality and senior executives in the new Murphy Administration. The Governor signed the Trans Death Certificate legislation and the Transgender Equality Task Force into law and we received the actually pens used in the signing as a souvenir.

Babs with the governor and fellow honorees.

The Babs Siperstein Law was special to me as Republican Governor Chris Christie vetoed the bill twice and went out of his way to force one of our Republican cosponsors to bail out on an override vote. When Phil Murphy was running for Governor, I met with him and emphasized the LGBT legislative agenda and especially those directly affecting transgender people. He made promises and he delivered. Elections have consequences!

In June I was honored by RWJ PROUD for my work and advocacy in helping kickstart New Jersey’s first full time LGBT medical clinic in Somerville, NJ, with an emphasis on delivering complete care to the transgender community as well as my advisory role with Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Medical Center New Brunswick and their joint partnership with Rutgers Medical School.

In July I was honored by Governor and First Lady Phil and Tammy Murphy as a leader for LGBT rights at a reception in the Governor’s Mansion, Drumthwacket. This was the first ever LGBT reception/celebration at the Princeton mansion and the first LGBT event in over 15 years.

The bad part of all these wonderful events is that I attended all of these in a wheelchair cut down by metastatic lung cancer that had spread to my spine and liver. I lost over 60 pounds and whatever muscle mass that I had thanks to the cancer and aggressive heavy duty chemotherapy that in addition had left me with “chemo brain,” lack of stamina and the inability to concentrate for any extended period of time.

So that is my excuse for being non-productive at work and as a blogger. I’ve now graduated to a Rollator or a cane for short distances. On hiatus form the HD chemo, I am finally making a little progress, but it is slow. I hope to be back on a regular basis and have a horse in the 2020 Democratic presidential race, but in the meantime realizing that my time, my quality time ahead is finite I do have a bucket list and I do want to spend more time with my grandchildren now aged 9 months through 19 years.

In the meantime, the 2018 midterms are near. Are you registered to vote? Will you vote and empower yourself? Will you volunteer and engage others to elect those who will commit to laws and policies to remove the stigma against transgender people? Elections matter and your enemy never sleeps!

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Category: Transgender Politics


About the Author ()

“Babs” is a member of the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee, Deputy Vice Chair of the NJ Democratic State Committee and Political Director of the Gender Rights Advocacy Association of NJ. For the current campaign she serves on the Executive Committee of Trans United 4 Obama. She has served as Vice Chair of the DNC Eastern Caucus, President of NJ Stonewall Democrats, Co-Chair of National Stonewall Democrats Federal PAC Board, Vice-Chair of Garden State Equality, Executive Board member of National Stonewall Democrats as Chair of the DNC Relations Committee and a member of the NJ Civil Unions Review Commission.

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