Transgender Oklahoman to run for U.S. House of Representatives
By Abra Cullen
Former Marine and political newcomer Elysabeth Britt could be the first transgender American to serve as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Her first hurdle is the June primary.
Britt said she chose to run for Oklahoma’s Fifth District because she believes the current leadership lacks the capability and willpower to work together to come up with meaningful compromise.
“I’m very disheartened by what for all intents and purposes appears as a back and forth blame game played out in the media.”
Having worked in human resources, Britt understands the need for civility in negotiations.
“When it gets heated, negotiations deteriorate. I’ve seen this firsthand in business, and sure enough, both parties end up resenting each other, in some cases forever.”
She continued, “On the other hand, when participants from opposite sides meet with poise and grace, the process takes less time, changes are agreed upon and adopted more easily, and changes in behavior are more readily adopted.”
Though Britt hasn’t run for office before, she said she feels ready to serve.
“I’ve always had a strong desire to run and be active in politics, but I had held back in years past for fear of being exposed as a transgender person before I was ready. Over the last few years, I’ve grown exponentially, and I’m quite comfortable with the person I am today.”
Britt said she would use her background in human resources to help serve the LGBT+ community.
“Since every politician focuses on jobs, I intend to use my experience and knowledge to work with legislators and businesses to focus on the benefits of anti-discrimination policies.”
She added, “Acts of violence and harassment toward the LGBT community continue to be a prevalent issue and need to be addressed, especially when a person is under the care of the state.”
Britt said she knows her platform would allow for better representation of LGBT+ concerns on the national level.
“I understand representing the community in Congress would create new opportunities and dialog around LGBT issues. It is my hope the discussion would foster an atmosphere that drives inclusion and acceptance.”
Though Britt is a person of faith, she said she does not agree with how some people use religion as a tactic for discrimination.
“I cannot stress this enough; nobody has the right to oppress and discriminate against another based on religion. You have the liberty to practice your religion in your own way, but at no time should anyone infer their religion is better than another’s as a basis for discrimination.
“Oppression for the sake of oppression is wrong, and it runs counter to the founding principles of this nation. I would defend this position to my dying breath if called upon to do so,” she added.
Being a first-timer, Britt said she has run into challenges in getting her message to Oklahomans.
“I’m not a well-known candidate. I don’t come from money, and I didn’t enter this election with the financial backing of a political action committee or any special interest group, which is an issue funding advertising.”
Hoping not to be the last LGBT+ person to run, Britt said any person hoping to run needs first to pray, then get centered. “It takes a clear mindset and a level of faith to step out and speak up. You must be ready for detractors, confident in your presence and focused on supporting all of the people you hope to represent. Above all, remain determined to be successful.”
Britt is active on social media and welcomes all engagement.
“I’d love for you all to reach out and engage with me. Until then, be safe, be strong and keep your chin up.”
For more information visit www.elysabethforok.com, Facebook.com/elysabethbrittforok or Twitter @ElysabethBritt.
Copyright The Gayly.