A San Francisco school board candidate has quit the race after apologizing for controversial remarks about the rights of transgender students.
The San Francisco Examiner says Josephine Zhao announced her withdrawal Monday morning in a Facebook post.
Zhao was criticized after comments she made to Chinese-language media in 2013 recently surfaced. In those remarks, Zhao said legislation that allows transgender students to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity could lead to rape.
The ensuing controversy caused her to lose endorsements.
Zhou apologized last month. But the newspaper says that apology was undermined after Zhao acknowledged — in Chinese-language text messages to a chat group — that she doesn’t support the transgender restroom policy and only claimed to do so.
Here is Zhao’s full statement in English and Chinese:
After careful consideration, I have decided to withdraw from the race for school board.
While I strongly believe that my positions on a variety of issues have been twisted, misrepresented and used to tear me down personally, I also believe that there are more important issues at play.
I strongly believe that the issue of transgender rights and dignity is larger than any single person’s candidacy for office, including my own. Therefore, I would rather step aside and work for the greater good than allow my candidacy to be a tool of division.
There can be no mixed messages when it comes to transgender rights in our schools.
We must send a message to transgender people, especially transgender children, that is absolutely clear and unequivocal: We support you!
I will step aside at this time to work on the issues that I care about, including this one.
First and foremost, I am an advocate for children, parents, immigrant families and people who struggle to find a voice in our educational system. That is my passion, that is what I do. And rather than let a divisive campaign jeopardize my work or, worse, further divide our communities, I will redouble my efforts to advocate for our families, and our kids, on the front lines.
I will not be used as a tool of division. Some things are more important than a campaign, or a seat on a board.
Information from: The San Francisco Examiner, http://www.sfexaminer.com
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