by Claudia Lucas and Julia Diana Robertson
Emilia Decaudin, 94th AD for Yorktown (Westchester County), introduced an amendment to the NY State Democratic Committee by-laws, in order to remove all sex-based language from party rules. The 20-year-old student, who identifies as a transwoman, is a senior at the City College of New York, and is the youngest-ever member of the Democratic State Committee.
Decaudin successfully got the NY State Democratic Party to dismantle the “one male, one female” rule from Democratic State Committees—A rule which the women’s suffrage movement fought to put into place. The rule guaranteed females an equal seat at the Democratic table.
Where the rules once read “his or her,” it now reads, “they,” “them,” or “theirs.” Where the rules once read as “one male and one female,” or, “are of the opposite gender,” it now reads as various version of two people who “do not identify as the same gender, unless they both identity as a non-binary gender.”
Coverage was sparse. NY Daily News was one of two publications that covered the story, and paints the changes in a positive light. Both publications were vague about when the vote was to take place. The articles were posted at around 4 am, on Tuesday, October 15, and the vote took place later that same day.
“The gender binary, in 2019, in New York, ultimately is an outdated concept because it simply just doesn’t reflect reality…” —Decaudin, NY Daily News
On Tuesday, October 15, NY Daily News wrote, “Dems will vote on the resolution at their fall business meeting Tuesday in Melville, Long Island.” No date was given (only “Tuesday” was provided).
“The idea of voting for male and female district leaders — unpaid party officials who oversee the county committee in assembly districts — dates back about 100 years to the women’s suffrage movement.” —Slattery, NY Daily News
It appears the silence around these changes allowed the vote to take place before any backlash or protest could occur. In fact, it wasn’t until Wednesday that people online started to take notice. However, because it was implied that the vote hadn’t yet happened—and was, presumably, to occur on an upcoming Tuesday—the measure appears to have passed quietly, and nearly unanimously.
On October 15, Decaudin announced that the measure had indeed passed.
That same day (after Decaudin announced it had passed), Paul Newell, Democratic District Leader for NY’s 65th AD in Lower Manhattan, implied it hadn’t yet passed, writing, “I do think it may require some tweaking of the election law to take effect. But I don’t see why that can’t happen, if Emilia is successful at the Democratic State Committee next week.”
Nick Rizzo, 50th AD for Kings County, live tweeted the October 15 meeting. According to Rizzo’s account, Barry McCoy (4th AD for Suffolk County and Executive Committee member), stated that the resolution “goes against ‘equal division . . . this party’s policy since Eleanor Roosevelt.’ ” McCoy, an American physicist with a P.h.D. from Harvard, appears to have been the only Executive Committee member who spoke against the resolution.
With regards to the nearly unanimous decision, Rizzo writes, “The [Executive Committee] votes for it except for [McCoy]. On to the full state committee” . . . “[McCoy] argues against the resolution in the full committee as well, to little avail” . . . “[the] resolution passes with about 4 no votes.”
After explaining the changes that came with the amended resolution, Samy Nemir-Olivares, policy advisor to the Community Education Council for District 32, said, “The resolution would NOT affect the gender parity of (half of the seats reserved for women) outlined for elected office seats such as District Leaders. This would only apply to State Committee members . . .” To which Decaudin responded, “We’re coming for District Leader and County Committee next, though. [cool face emoji] . . .”
“We’re coming for District Leader and County Committee next, though. [cool face emoji] . . .” —Emilia Decaudin
Interestingly, the changes do not go into effect until after the 2020 Democratic primary elections. Which raises the question—since both representatives for District 94, Decaudin and Christine Robbins, have their “gender” listed as “female,” and the current rules state that each district must be represented by “one male, and one female,” isn’t District 94 in breach of Committee by-laws?
Update: On October 26, Decaudin, 94th AD for Westchester County, said, “. . . suck my girldick,” after women voiced their concerns about the removal of sex as a protected class in law. Decaudin, an elected official, has also blocked many constituents of New York state.
The amendment was “submitted September 30, 2019, by the following Members of the New York State Democratic Committee”:
- Emilia Decaudin 94th AD, Westchester County
- Douglas Schneider 44th AD, Kings County
- Rachel Lavine 66th AD, New York County
- Daniel Cohen 69th AD, New York County
- Adam Roberts 76th AD, New York County
- Roslyn Stone-Pollock 93rd AD, Westchester County
- Mark Vian 102nd AD, Greene County
- Elisa Sumner 105th AD and Chair, Dutchess County
- Sara Idleman 113th AD, Washington County
- Josue Pierre 42nd AD, Kings County
- Nick Rizzo 50th AD, Kings County
- Benjamin Yee 66th AD, New York County
- Lauren Trapanotto 76th AD, New York County
- William Greenawalt 92nd AD, Westchester County
- Lee Jamison 102nd AD, Columbia County
- Kelleigh McKenzie 103rd AD, Ulster County
- Sue Van Hook 107th AD, Washington County
- Jay Bellanca 113th AD, Washington County
- Patrick Nelson 113th AD, Saratoga County
- Nicole Terminelli 115th AD, St. Lawrence County
- Jennie Bacon 116th AD, St. Lawrence County
- Ronald McDougall 117th AD, St. Lawrence County
- Jason Clark 118th AD, St. Lawrence County
- Emily Adams 125th AD, Tompkins County
- Kristen Prata Browde, President, LGBT Bar Association of Greater NY Co-Chair, National Trans Bar Association District Leader, New Castle Town Democratic Committee
- Kimberly Davis 115th AD, Clinton County
- Tony Arquiett 115th AD, St. Lawrence County
- Mark Bellardini 116th AD, St. Lawrence County
- Nance Arquiett 118th AD, St. Lawrence County
- Rebecca Miner 118th AD, Oneida County
- Mary Thorpe 132nd AD, Chemung County
UPDATES: This article has been updated to include accounts of the meeting by Nick Rizzo; to include Christine Robbins and the 94th district’s potential breach of rules; and to include Rizzo, Oct 19 tweet. Updated to include Decaudin October 26 tweet.
*Featured image: Emilia Decaudin speaking, on October 15, at the NY Democrats Committee meeting.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
Claudia Lucas Robertson is a Chilean American Jew-ish lesbian activist, musician, improv performer and Editor-in-Chief at The Velvet Chronicle.
جوليا ديانا — Julia Diana Robertson, is a an award-winning author, journalist and Senior Editor at The Velvet Chronicle.