The New Jersey Democratic State Committee passed a resolution on Tuesday night honoring the life of Babs Siperstein, a civil rights and Democratic Party leader who was a forceful advocate for the LGBTQ community.
Siperstein, who died last month at age 76, became the first openly transgender member of the Democratic National Committee in 2009, served as vice chair of the DNC Eastern Caucus, and was named to the DNC Executive Committee in 2011. In 2016, she was a super-delegate to the party’s national convention, pledged to Hillary Clinton.
“Babs guided younger generations through intolerant societies and lobbied for the rights and equality of the LGBTQ community,” said Liz Gilbert, the executive director of the Democratic State Committee. “She was a driving force behind legislation that makes it easier for New Jerseyans to change their birth certificates to reflect the gender they identify with.”
In 2017, Siperstein supported Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison for Democratic National Chairman when most of the New Jersey delegation, including state chairman John Currie, were backing former U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez.
After he won, Perez dumped Siperstein from her post as National Committeewoman and from her seat on the Executive Committee.
She was among several leading Democrats who were part of Perez’s purge of dissenters that included Alice Germond, the national party secretary for eleven years, and New Hampshire Democratic State Chairman Ray Buckley.
Siperstein took her removal as a trooper, saying she was collateral damage for endorsing the losing candidate. She said that’s the sort of thing that happens in politics.
Currie did not fight Perez on Siperstein’s removal, which left New Jersey without any representation on the national party executive committee. Currie did nab the co-chairmanship of the DNC Credentials Committee for himself.
So Siperstein got a posthumous resolution from the state party, but not their support when she was removed from her DNC post.
The only major New Jersey Democratic official to publicly complain about Siperstein’s ouster was her own county chairman, Kevin McCabe.
McCabe, the Middlesex County Democratic chairman, wrote to Perez demanding that she be reinstated.
“There is no acceptable reason to sideline someone who gave so much to our party and our nation,” McCabe told Perez.