Hudson Valley Democrat aims to become first openly transgender elected official in NY history
A local Democrat is hoping to become the first openly transgender elected official in New York history.
Shear Avory sat down for their first televised interview with senior political reporter Tara Rosenblum about becoming a candidate for the state Assembly.
"I am running to champion progress for all of us," says the 25-year-old. "To take the fight of so many communities on the most outer margins of oppression."
Avory, who identifies as a Black and indigenous nonbinary trans femme, says the political climate is primed for change.
"Our needs deserve to be adequately represented in state government, especially when so many of our needs have come under attack...visibility without equity equates to nothing," says Avory.
The Hudson Valley Democrat is running for the 104th Assembly District, which includes parts of Dutchess, Orange and Ulster counties, including Poughkeepsie, where they live. It includes both the City and Town of Newburgh, which are separate municipalities.
Avory may be one of the youngest candidates of 2024, but they have a long history of activism nationwide, including roles as the lead statewide organizer for the new Pride agenda and a President Joe Biden fellow for LGBTIQ equality.
Avery is a survivor of conversion therapy, bullying, foster care and abuse.
They grew up in foster care in California after their mother overdosed and eventually found themself homeless.
In a move thick on symbolism, Avory announced their candidacy on the 44th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.
The seat is currently held by three-term Democrat Jonathan Jacobson, a former city councilman and assistant attorney general, who said he is proud to defend his record.
"I'm delivering for the district, I'm delivering on the big issues and I'm delivering on the local issues, and I'm from the Hudson Valley. I went from elementary school through high school in Newburgh - I know the district," he says.