Sarah McBride Becomes First Transgender Senator In U.S. History — Who Was Her Late Husband, Andrew Cray?

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sarah mcbride
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Sarah McBride is making history as the first transgender senator in America.

She won her seat for Delaware in the 2020 election last night against Republican challenger Steve Washington for the 1st Senate District.

She was born in Wilmington, Delaware and began her work in politics as an intern at the White House. 

She is a powerhouse for LGBTQ+ rights and we look forward to seeing what she does in the Senate seat. 

She also has a late husband, who she says helped teach her empathy.

Who is Sarah McBride's late husband, Andrew Cray?

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Andrew Cray was a transgender man and a political activist who fought for constitutional protection in the LGBTQ+ community.

He also worked closely with the Department of Health and Human Services to create the Out2Enroll initiative which helped connect the LGBTQ+ community with healthcare options. 

In 2012, he was a prominent White House activist who helped ensure the LGBTQ+ community was being considered during the creation of the Affordable Care Act. 

Andrew Cray founded the Trans Legal Advocates of Washington.

Andrew Cray was a founding member of TransLAW which is a pro bono legal clinic for transgender people focusing on transgender law or legal issues that arise. 

How did Andrew Cray and Sarah McBride meet?

Cray and McBride met while McBride was interning at the White House. They literally bumped into each other at a reception the White House was holding honoring the LGBTQ community in June of 2012.

Sarah writes that she hadn't thought of the clumsy moment until she received a Facebook message from "the charming and suave" guy who was at the event. 

After a few dates and many messages, McBride revealed that she got the better deal out of their time together. "[Andrew was generous, loving, smart, funny, and enjoyed just the perfect mix of hard work and play," McBride said.

Andrew Cray's proposal was significant.

When Cray found out about his terminal cancer diagnosis, he had one thought running through his head: “If it turns out that this is incurable, would you marry me?” When faced with death, Cray said he looked toward love.

McBride writes that the proposal, "[was] not your traditional marriage proposal but then again, Andy and I haven’t lived traditional lives."

She was in love with Cray since day one so she obviously said yes, even knowing how dire his diagnosis was. 

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Their wedding was rushed but beautiful.

Cray and McBride planned to get married in October of 2014 because they both loved Fall, but with Cray's illness worsening they were forced to move the date up.

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The couple got married on August 24, 2014 on the rooftop of their building.

Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop and close friend of the couple presided over the wedding.  

Andrew Cray died of cancer.

He was diagnosed with oral cancer in his tongue in September of 2013. After a few months of treatment, he was proclaimed cancer-free in April of 2014.

Unfortunately, in July 2014 his cancer came back with force and spread to his lungs making his illness fatal.

McBride shared that at one of his last doctor visits, he was given two weeks live.

Cray said to McBride, “Two weeks? I’m not ready for this ‘A Walk To Remember’ sh*t,” to lighten the mood of the doctor's office.

Cray died four days after the couple said their vows. 

McBride posted on her Instagram with the caption, "His last words, which he uttered the day before, encapsulated so much of his life: I love you, too."

Andrew Cray was given the Champion of Change award by President Obama.

After Cray's death, former President Barack Obama awarded him a Champion of Change award.

Some other names who have won the award are Steven Romeo, Fiona Dawson, and Lee Levingston Perine.

Cray's family also created the Andrew Cray Memorial Scholarship to help support the LGBTQ+ youth. 

Sarah McBride wrote a book about Andrew Cray. 

Sarah McBride wrote a book in 2018 entitled Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality.

The book recounts the tales of her fight for equality in Delaware through the lens of her relationship with her late husband.

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Deauna Nunes is an editorial intern who covers pop culture and news & entertainment for YourTango. She's been published by Emerson College's literary magazine Generic. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.