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PHILADELPHIA—The Democratic Party reached a milestone on Thursday even before Hillary Clinton gave her big speech.

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Sarah McBride, 25, became the first transgender person to speak at a major party political convention.

"Will we be a nation where there is only one way to love, only one way to look, only one way to live?" McBride asked the crowd. "Or will we be a nation where there is more than one way to live freely and openly?"

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McBride, the national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, told the story of how, as a young White House intern, she met her future husband, Andrew, a transgender man.

After they met, Andrew was diagnosed with oral cancer, which spread to his lungs and ultimately took his life. Sarah described how the memory of her late husband inspires her to fight for equality: "Knowing Andy left me profoundly changed, but more than anything else, it made me determined to fight for a world where everyone can live to their fullest."

Fusion profiled McBride earlier this year for The 30, a series on women 30 and under working to change American politics. At the time, she was serving as the campaigns and communications manager for the Center for American Progress Action Fund, where she advocated for stronger LGBTQ protections at the national level.

McBride also used Thursday's speech to put the stakes of the 2016 election in stark contrast.

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"Today in America, LGBTQ people are still targeted by hate that lives in both laws and hearts," McBride said. "But I believe that tomorrow can be different. Tomorrow, we can be respected and protected, especially if Hillary Clinton is our president."