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Sunday, May 22, 2022

Yuh-Line Niou

In The Politics of Autism, I write:  "Support from the general public will be an important political asset for autistic people. Another will be their sheer numbers, since a larger population of identified autistic adults will mean more autistic voters and activists."  Previous posts have discussed autistic officeholders and political candidates in New YorkGeorgiaTexas, and Wisconsin.

Andrew Stanton at Newsweek

New York Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou could make history as the first openly autistic member of Congress.

Niou, a progressive Democrat who has represented parts of Lower Manhattan since 2017, announced her run for New York's 10th Congressional District on Saturday in what could become a historic run for office. She has previously been open about being on the autism spectrum and is one of a handful of autistic state legislators across the U.S.

Should Niou win the election, she would become the first openly autistic member of Congress and the highest ranking openly autistic official in United States history. Historians have speculated that some historical politicians may have been on the autism spectrum, but none have had official diagnoses.

She will face off against several high-profile New York politicians including former Mayor Bill de Blasio and Representative Mondaire Jones, who currently represents suburbs north of the city. The district is deeply Democratic, so whoever wins the primary in August will be the overwhelming favorite to win the general election in November.

Niou announced her candidacy in the 10th District only hours after the map was released on Friday. A previous iteration of the congressional map was struck down by the court.

The historical nature of her candidacy did not go unnoticed on social media following her announcement. "Folks, she's running. V excited for the possibility of the first openly autistic Member of Congress," wrote journalist Sara Luterman.