FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The United States’ first transgender non-binary individual to run for federal elected office, Osun Zotique, officially withdraws from the race for the 118th United States Congress.
Effective June 30, 2022.
Hudson, New York | 06/27/2022
In the words of female entrepreneur Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, don’t worry: you won’t break my soul.
We have determined, after traveling through the counties of New York’s 19th Congressional District, and consulting with the NYS Board of Elections, that I do not have the necessary means to win an election against Republican Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, and our best decision will be to officially withdraw from the race for the 118th United States Congress, effective June 30.
It has been an utter privilege to make United States history as our first transgender non-binary individual to run for federal elected office. Over the course of about a month, I announced, opened myself up to the broader community, received support, collected designating petition signatures, and began making my way onto the Democratic Primary Ballot. Particularly challenging during this uniquely chaotic timeframe: of Antonio Delgado’s resignation and the area’s redistricting.
I would like to take this opportunity to say that NYS ELN § 6 is not only obsolete, it is also ableist and dangerous. In my experience gathering over 1,000 designating petition signatures, I realized that it is very challenging to make your way onto a ballot in this state. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In a world of integrated blockchain and crypto, however [an issue where Mr. Molinaro and I agree], there’s no reason we couldn’t also do this securely online in the MyNY.gov portal. Running wet-ink petitions is exhausting physically and impossible for some. And furthermore, it forces us to carry around sensitive voter information which could get misplaced or destroyed by rain. New Yorkers need reform on Section 6, full stop.
I am also committed to finishing the policy dialogue I privately started with the NYS Board of Elections regarding their full implementation of the 2022 Gender Recognition Act into the voter logs. A candidate can reach out to voters based on their name, address, phone number, email address, or gender. But Gender X is not yet provided for in election procedure. Furthermore, voters should have access to every legal gender when they register to vote: M, F, and X. “U” is the current option and it simply means “Unspecified.”
To be approached by kids and families on the street, take pictures with them, and see their tears of joy. To be visible. To provide that representation. Has been the honor of a lifetime. As my neighbor Ollie, a proud transgender boy, said: “I want there to be transgender leaders in Washington so that my friends and I can know that we are seen and respected.”
We may not have shattered this glass ceiling of federal office yet. But whether it’s me or the next person, we will try again, and again, and again. And we won’t stop, until the government gets its paws off of our uteruses. We won’t stop until gender-diverse folks are fully protected under statute. We won’t stop until man made environmental devastation stops. We won’t stop until mass incarceration ceases ruining childhoods in our communities of color. We won’t stop until student debts are forgiven. We won’t stop until our businesses put people before profit. We won’t stop while Indigenous women are being abducted and murdered at the highest rates. And we won’t stop until Washington works for each and every one of us. We won’t stop until everyone learns. That we all deserve to live from the PRIDE of our inner wholeness. Joe Biden promised to fight to restore the soul of this democracy. But some people want us to forget who we are. The essence of our flawed, problematic, settler nation, of a path that zigs and zags and sometimes bends towards justice. We can’t stop until this entire 50-state- industrial-complex remembers what we are. And what we are is – United.
I feel pride and gratitude for this wonderful campaign that we built together in a matter of weeks.
And as our Dutchess county neighbor Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” And so my question to us all remains – How High Can You Dream?
I urge everyone to stay tuned to the important issues we had the opportunity to elevate via my website at www.osunforny.com. Please hold my new friends Jamie and Josh to those same values, which we mostly all share.
I remain New York’s yoga servant; school district advisor; PhD candidate in creativity education; OutHudson LGBTQIA+ Pride Executive Director; and, a steadfast neighbor & friend. Maybe one day soon I will get the chance to be your elected public servant again.
Please, don’t forget to vote for our 19th Congressional District on August 23.