Josephine Zhao, an advocate for San Francisco students, parents and immigrant families

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.