SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Barbra “Babs” Siperstein, an army veteran, small business person and New Jersey native, died Feb. 3 at age 76, prompting South Orange to lower its flags to half-staff to honor the longtime activist.
Siperstein was known as one of New Jersey’s most prominent LGBTQ activists and was instrumental in securing protections for transgender people on both the state and federal level. She was a civil rights trailblazer who was relentless in her pursuit of seeking equal rights, not just for the LGBTQ community, but for everyone who is marginalized in society. Her namesake legislation, the Babs Siperstein Law, which requires the state to issue amended birth certificates to transgender people in New Jersey, took effect on Feb. 1 after many years of Siperstein’s advocacy and determination to see it passed and signed into law. She was also the force behind New Jersey’s inclusive non-discrimination law that included protections for transgender New Jerseyans as well as for gays, lesbians and bisexuals.
In 2018, Siperstein attended the transgender flag raising in South Orange.
“Babs was a true friend to the South Orange community and attended various events as a guest speaker sharing her story and her message,” village President Sheena Collum said on behalf of the Board of Trustees. “She made us better individuals and a better community. Her memory will certainly live on and this is an appropriate and small gesture of saying thanks.”