"I hope going out and speaking, that I do right by the transgender community," Sarah McBride tells PEOPLE

By Katie Kauss
Updated July 28, 2016 06:15 PM
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Human Rights Campaign

There are a lot of firsts happening at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this year – the first female presidential nominee for a major party, the first time a former president spoke as the possible first gentleman, and the first time a transgender woman will address the crowd at a political party convention.

While Sarah McBride is used the being “the first” – she was the first openly transgender intern at the White House – she’s acutely aware of the historical weight of her speech on Thursday night. Speaking a few hours ahead of Clinton on the final night of the convention, McBride will shatter a glass ceiling of her own.

“My hope is that anyone who is watching, any young girl whether they are cisgender or transgender, gay or straight, they can understand that they can be successful, that they can be independent, they can be seen, they can be respected as the equal humans that we all are,” McBride explains to PEOPLE.

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McBride is also aware that with this great honor, comes great responsibility. “I hope going out and speaking, that I do right by the transgender community,” she explains. “That’s my main priority – that the community that I love feels like I have done them justice.”

As the national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, who previously worked on campaigns for the late Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, McBride is no stranger to the political arena and understands the historical nature of this year’s election.

“If we elect Hillary Clinton, not only will she shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling, but she’ll also implement the change that all women need – all people need, to live and strive as their authentic self.”

Sitting in the audience tonight will be McBride’s “supporting and loving” parents who were once “so scared that my future, my professional future, my career would be over” when she came out.

“I’ll be thinking about them,” McBride explains of her speech tonight, “and I hope they know that I’m okay, that it’s all going to be alright. And I hope that other parents can see that too.”

The Democratic National Convention concludes tonight with speeches from Chelsea Clinton and Hillary Clinton.