Henry Sias didn't expect to make headlines when he became a lawyer years ago, but now, the ambitious attorney is setting out to make history as the first openly transgender man to become a judge in the United States.
In an interview with Huffington Post, the 40-year-old attorney, who co-founded the group Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equality, said that his "experience working directly with judges and justices" combined with his commitment to creating "democratic spaces where citizens can tell their truths, and with those truths, change our community for the better" make him an excellent candidate.
But, before he can change history, Sias needs to succeed at the polls on the May 16 Democratic primary in Philadelphia to gain a seat on Pennsylvania's trial court, the Court of Common Pleas.
"I learned from some of the finest trial judges in Philadelphia," Sias told Huffington Post. "I will take that experience directly to the bench. I also think that Philadelphians can and should send the message that transgender people belong in Philadelphia, and we belong in Philadelphia's government."
Sias' message comes at a time when lawmakers in the U.S. are arguing for and enacting changes that directly impact the safety and quality of trans lives.
Just days after President Trump signed an executive order granting businesses and employers the right to discriminate against potential employees based upon their religious beliefs, Missouri Representative Rick Brattin essentially argued that LGBTQ people are inherently different than other human beings.
Though some might be discouraged by the apparent anti-trans sentiments coming from lawmakers across the country, Sias sees an opportunity to enact real change, even if at just a local level.
"It's important to push back and eliminate the idea that transgender people are sort of fundamentally false or that we're not reliable narrators because of who we are and what happens to us," Sias told Huffington Post. "So, I think having transgender people involved in the legal system in the courts in government helps to push back against that systemic discrimination."