Trans politician left ‘violated’ after bigot grills her on genitals: ‘Transphobia is a disease’

A picture of Émilia Decaudin, a trans official in New York City

A trans politician was left feeling “violated” after being targeted with anti-trans abuse while trying to enjoy a night out with her fiancée.

Émilia Decaudin, an elected Democratic district leader and state committee member from the New York City borough of Queens, told PinkNews she was at a sports bar when a woman approached to ask about her role as female district leader.

A district leader is an unpaid, elected position, with each district having a male and female leader.

She was initially unperturbed by the enquiry, explaining that she gets it “every so often from people in the neighbourhood” who recognise her from her campaign work or advocacy on Twitter.

However, the tone of the conversation quickly shifted.

“She goes in and starts talking about ‘How can you represent vaginas?’ and I realised exactly at that moment where this was going,” said Decaudin.

“That put me on edge right away because I’ve dealt with, on occasion, trans stuff before, but I’ve never dealt with this particular kind of stuff in person, in my community before.”


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A post shared by Émilia Decaudin (@emiliadecaudin)

Decaudin has dealt with hate online before, but said the “fact this came into real life” was a “really scary” experience.

She responded to the woman by asking: “Well, how do you know what’s in my pants? It’s kind of a weird question to ask.”

In turn, the woman began arguing that trans politicians couldn’t represent her.

“And I shoot back ‘I got like 8,000 votes two years ago when I first ran. I won this election pretty handily so I’m pretty sure I do represent you, and I like to think I’m doing a good job at it.'”

Decaudin said the woman finished her tirade by pointing to her young children and questioning how Émilia could “represent these vaginas” before leaving the bar.

The Democrat said the entire experience “felt very violating, in the sense that I was not at a political event where I’m on top of things and when someone comes up to me I’m ready to handle it”.

“I was just out with my partner as a private person.”


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A post shared by Émilia Decaudin (@emiliadecaudin)

After she shared the encounter on Twitter, Decaudin was met with support online as commenters shared their disgust at the “disturbing” and “gross behaviour”.

She hopes that if a positive can come from the situation, it’s that people will become more aware of how to help trans people if they witness such incidents.

“In very concrete terms, record the interaction,” she said. “Because it’s helpful to be able to reflect on what was said, especially if stuff gets threatening to the point of needing a restraining order.”

She added it’s also important for allies to know when to step in and know when to defend the person, without saying things that will “muddy things up” or fuel additional hateful rhetoric.

Decaudin is working to pass a bill, that she co-authored, that would require all political parties in New York state to make their elected party positions that have gender requirements inclusive of non-binary people.