Self-described "poly, kinky, trans, lesbian" socialist candidate Emilia Decaudin seeks to capitalize on #MeToo allegations against New York State Assemblyman Juan Ardila to take his seat.
Decaudin claimed that there's a "lack of leadership in the district right now," and is planning to push for "trans rights" and "housing reform."
Decaudin, who made headlines when elected to the Democratic state committee in 2018, came out as trans in 2019, becoming the first transgender member of that body, and last week announced a run for the District 37 Assembly seat. Decaudin is 24 years old.
Ardila, 29, is facing allegations that he touched a woman at a party in 2015 when they were all drunk, and exposed himself to another woman. He was 21 years old at the time, and a student at Fordham University. For this alleged infraction, he is being asked to resign.
"I did not sexually abuse anyone or engage in any sexual assault," Ardila said.
Some New York Democrats have said that touching a woman at a party constitutes sexual assault. The allegations, according to the NY Daily News, are that Ardila kissed a woman and touched her in a sexual manner. Another woman claimed Ardila pulled her into a bathroom and kissed her, exposing himself when she pulled away.
Both of these women have made the allegations about unwanted touching at a drunken college party anonymously.
"The accounts from the women who experienced sexual assault are harrowing and reveal indefensible actions," Queens Democrats said in a statement, "to which [Ardila] has admitted. While we believe in restorative justice, this process cannot occur while holding a position of power."
New York City Councilwoman Julie Won claimed that Ardila has a "pathological hatred toward women" and used his denial of the allegations as evidence of that hatred.
Ardila at first apologized for his allegedly drunken behavior at a college party several years ago. "I apologize for my behavior," he said. "I have spent time reflecting, and I hope to prove I have matured since college. I’m committed to learning from this and I am able to demonstrate my own personal growth."
He then opened an investigation himself in order to get to the bottom of it. Law firm Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney interviewed about 20 people who were present at that party and those witnesses stated that they did not see Ardila interact with either of the women, neither of whom have been publicly identified.
Ardila said that he did kiss two women at that October party in 2015 when he was 21 and in college, but that it was consensual. His understanding was that there was mutual interest from one of the women, who was wearing a Playboy Bunny costume. He stated that the other kiss was also consensual, and that he did not expose himself.
These allegations from 2015 are the most recent anonymous charges levied against him, and for this, his party seeks his resignation. In fact, Councilman Robert Holden, also of Queens, has demanded that the city's district attorneys from all five boroughs undertake an investigation to find out if Ardila really was drunk at a party while he was in college in 2015, to find out if he really did kiss a girl who didn't want to be kissed.
Decaudin, who endorsed Ardila in 2022, now seeks his seat. In a recent article from City & State, Ardila was described as "scandal-ridden" over the anonymous allegations of two women who said he kissed them at a college party eight years ago.
The article criticizes Ardila for not resigning, saying that he "has resisted repeated calls from former supporters and legislative leaders to resign amid allegations of sexual assault–which he has denied–and local progressive leaders have been looking for someone to run against him."
Enter Decaudin, who in 2020 was lauded for being young, trans, and progressive. In 2019, Decaudin was successful in removing "binary gendered language from the committee rules" of the state Democratic Committee. What made that significant is that the New York State Democratic Committee had a rule in place that one man and one woman would represent each district.
After Decaudin's work, one member of each "gender" is designated to represent each district, meaning that women no longer get an automatic spot for representation. Two men who identify as trans would fit the new requirements for district representation.
The entire point of the rule was to make space for women to represent their interest, but that has been eliminated in the face of trans advocacy. To Decaudin, the change was necessary because people who claim to be neither male nor female, using the designation "non-binary," were "legally barred from running for most party offices." That is only true if those person refuse to acknowledge biological reality and refuse to say that they are either male or female.
Decaudin also opposed an event hosted by Candace Owen's BLEXIT, which is partnered with Turning Point USA, at a Queens venue, saying that the organization is "transphobic."
A Brooklyn venue cancelled the event under pressure, forcing the move to a Queens venue. Turning Point's Charlie Kirk said "Outrageous!! A bunch of white liberal New Yorkers just canceled a BLEXIT/TPUSA venue for an event featuring Brandon Tatum, Candace Owens, Anthony Davis, and Yoenmi Park—3 black Americans and 1 North Korean defector—with less than three days' notice."
The event was moved to a Queens venue, where it was held without incident.
The election for the District 37 assembly seat will be in 2024. Both Ardila and Decaudin are Democrats.
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