The results of the Affirmation presidential election were certified November 20th by the election committee (consisting of Corresponding Secretary Todd Richardson, and committee members at large Melissa King and Fred Bowers) and shared with the candidates and with the Board of Affirmation. Carson Tueller received the majority of votes and will be the next president of Affirmation. Tueller, a part-time university student and self-employed private music instructor, will serve as a one-year term starting on January 1st, 2018. Prior to running for President of Affirmation, Tueller served for several years on the Utah Flute Association board of directors. He also underwent months of extensive leadership development training through Landmark Worldwide, a leading professional and personal development company.
In certifying the election, the Election Committee released the following:
Dear Affirmation Family,
Voting for Affirmation president has concluded. The election committee has reviewed the results and is pleased to announce that Carson Tueller has been elected the president of Affirmation for a one-year term, beginning January 1, 2018.
We, the undersigned, certify the results of the election, as required in the bylaws of Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons (known as Affirmation: LGBT Mormons, Families & Friends).
Of the 395 members eligible to vote, 236 cast votes. Carson received 53% of the vote and Sara Jade Woodhouse received 47%. One member cast an abstention vote.
The election committee would like to thank both candidates on their positive campaigns. We wish Carson good luck and send a heart-felt thanks to Sara Jade for her work these last months as acting president.
Fred Bowers, Election Committee Member
Tod Richardson, Corresponding Secretary
Melissa King, Election Commitee Member
In support of his candidacy for president, Tueller wrote, “I was first introduced to Affirmation 4 years ago, and quickly realized that it provided a community that I had longed for all through my years of coming out as gay. I felt for the first time the freedom to navigate my sexuality and faith in a way that met my personal needs. I also felt that regardless of what I chose, Affirmation had a place for me… I stand firmly in my belief that LGBTQIA people are whole and perfect as they are, and are worthy of love, inclusion, and acceptance in not only the LDS church, but in all the world.”
The position of president is the only elected position in Affirmation. The president appoints two vice presidents and these three people form an executive committee that conducts the business of Affirmation along with the board of directors and a large expanded team of volunteers. The person elected as president greatly influences the performance of Affirmation in conjunction with the board of directors.
In accordance with the By-Laws of Affirmation, the Affirmation Board will meet shortly to also certify the election results and to confirm Carson’s vice presidential choices, Francisco Ruiz (as senior vice president) and Kimberly Anderson (vice president).
Ruiz accepts himself as both Mormon and gay, and has served as Senior Vice President of Affirmation Mexico. While serving as an Affirmation leader in Mexico, the country has seen remarkable growth, organizing in eight areas and training regional leaders who continually work together. For vice president, Tueller named Kimberly Anderson. Anderson now lives authentically as a woman and, prior to transitioning and changing her name, has a lifetime of experience is service in the LDS Church. She resigned her old name from the records of the church last year. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at the University of San Francisco.
Of his choices for these appointments, Tueller wrote, “I know these individuals personally, and I draw a great amount of strength from their personal stories. Their contribution to Affirmation and the LGBTQIA+ community is enormous. They have both done considerable work in making the world a safer place for LBTQIA+ people, both within and outside of Affirmation.”
Following the certification of the election, the Affirmation Board released the following:
The Affirmation Board extends its heartfelt appreciation to all the candidates. It takes courage to put oneself forward in this way and to face the difficult emotions associated with winning or losing an election. It is very hard to run “against” colleagues and friends we both love and admire. And finally, it takes a lot of courage to commit oneself to make the investment of time, energy, personal resources and heart that comes with serving in any position of leadership in an organization that is as diverse as Affirmation and that continues to grow rapidly. This position comes with the sense of urgency that Affirmation is about creating life-saving community and space for healing, more urgently needed today than ever before.
We are grateful for and encouraged by the high caliber of the candidates in this race. This was a difficult (and close) election because all the presidential and vice presidential candidates were individuals with unique strengths that Affirmation needs in order to thrive. All are making concrete contributions to the well-being of LGBT Mormons and their families and friends throughout the world. Sara Jade Woodhouse came to Affirmation following years as an activist for LGBT equality in Utah, and has become an inspiring voice for faith and inclusion within Affirmation. Aaron McManus worked with the Affirmation UK leadership to organize four UK conferences last year and is now serving as co-chair of the 2018 Annual International Conference. Cristina Moraes will continue as President of the fastest growing national Affirmation organization in the world (Brazil). Carson has been involved in Affirmation annual conference organizing and in working with Affirmation youth, and has committed to bring needs of Affirmation members living with disabilities into greater focus. Francisco has played a pivotal role in continuing to build and strengthen Affirmation Mexico and also has helped with annual conference organizing. Kimberly Anderson has created an inspiring collection of Mama Dragon voices in support of LGBT Mormon youth, and is a respected trans activist. It is hard not to be inspired by the diversity and global reach of the Affirmation leaders involved in this race!
We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Carson, Francisco and Kimberly, and unitedly pledge to help you succeed in your roles so that we can all more effectively save lives, unite families, and strengthen LGBT Mormons throughout the world!