• A pin from the LGBT Caucus event at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. (via Ben Winsor for SBS) (Supplied)Source: Supplied
A record number of LGBT+ individuals and allies attended the 2016 Democratic National Convention to show their solidarity to their cause, the Democratic party, and its presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.
By
Ben Winsor

28 Jul 2016 - 12:04 PM  UPDATED 28 Jul 2016 - 12:04 PM

Barbara Siperstein is a star in the New Jersey Democratic Party. 

Known as "Babs" to her friends - of which she has many - Siperstein has been advocating for LGBTQIA+ rights within New Jersey and the Democratic Party for years. 

This year, she's celebrating a record number of openly transgender delegates participating in the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

"There are 28 and counting, we may even find more," she tells SBS, "we had 14 in 2012."

We caught up with her as she attended a Democratic LGBT Caucus event Tuesday afternoon as she handed out Transgender delegate pins bearing the faces of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. 

"It's very encouraging that people are able to come out and do it - I've always maintained that our closets are our biggest enemy," she says.

She says that just having a seat at the table makes a massive difference in politics. 

"You may be disappointed, but it gives you an opportunity," she says, adding that personal connections are critical. "It's the one on one - we're humans."

While she talks we're interrupted numerous times. Everyone seems to know her, and the pins are in hot demand. 

Regarding Donald Trump - specifically his statement that transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner could use whatever bathroom she wanted - Siperstein doesn't mince her words.

"It's bullshit," she says, "and you may quote me."

Refusing to award the real estate billionaire with any points for this statement, she adds: "It's the law in New York City".

The Democrat appears more excited than ever for this year's convention. 

"The platform is the most inclusive and strongest LGBT platform ever," she says. "We're going to have our first openly transgender speaker on the floor."

Sarah McBride from Delaware will take to the convention stage on Thursday. The National Press Secretary of the strongly democratic leaning LGBT rights group, the Human Rights Campaign, is no newcomer to politics. 

Siperstein says she knows McBride's family, and their support has made all the difference. 

"When you have a supportive family it makes it so much easier," she says. "She'll probably be the first out, transgender Governor of the state."

Brian Simms, a popular and openly gay State Assemblyman in the Philadelphian House of Representatives rushes by. He stops when he sees Siperstein to say hello (and gatecrash a photo).

He bids farewell and heads off with a staffer. 

I turn to Siperstein to show her the photo, but she's already been stopped by another friend. She's handing them pins.