Presidential hopeful Cory Booker opens up about his non-binary ‘nie-phew’

US senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Cory Booker has spoken out about his commitment to transgender rights and having a non-binary “nie-phew”.

In an interview with Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality Action Fund, Booker said that his brother’s child is a “trans activist” who he describes as “my nie-phew, which is a combination of niece and nephew”.

“[They have] helped their uncle be someone who is more aware of specific issues facing trans youth in schools today,” the 50-year-old senator said.

“I think that this is a moral moment in America and that the next president has to be someone that understands that there’s a restoration of the best of our values,” Booker said.

“It has to be done from that office by elevating how we are rendering populations in this country invisible. Marginalising them is just not acceptable to me.

“So I hope that one day very soon — let’s call it maybe less than two years — that Avery, my niephew, and other great trans leaders in the youth community have a seat at the White House to talk about issues.”

Cory Booker also talked about his “activist inspiration” – the late Babs Siperstein, an activist from New Jersey who came out as transgender in the 1980s and died in February 2019.

And the New Jersey senator said he is “concerned and, frankly, outraged” about the epidemic of anti-trans violence in the US at the moment.

“There are so many areas where just your physical safety, if you’re a trans American, is under threat in this country right now. And I won’t tolerate it,” Booker said.

“This has been an issue for my whole adult life.”

Keisling asked about Booker’s first vote in the Senate, which was a pro-trans vote.

“For me, the fact that I could be in the Senate for a historic day like that, it really made me feel this jubilance to know that I got to be there for that moment,” Booker said.

On the issue of violence against young trans women of colour, Booker said: “I don’t have all the answers when it comes to trans youth but I’m willing to elevate folks to let them sit as peers with me to find solutions.”