New York county legislature approves ban on transgender athletes



(The Center Square) — A New York county legislature has approved a ban on transgender girls and women from competing in county sporting teams that don’t align with their gender at birth.

The Nassau County Legislature voted 12-5 on Monday to ban transgender girls and women from competing at county facilities on teams and leagues, sending the bill to Nassau County Chief Executive Bruce Blakeman, who is expected to sign it.

The measure is similar to an executive order signed by Blakeman in February barring transgender athletes from participating in female sports at county facilities, which was blocked by a recent court ruling. Blakeman has appealed the ruling.

Approval of the measure came over the objection of transgender activists, civil liberties and progressive groups, who testified ahead of the bill’s passage that it is discriminatory and claimed it lead to higher suicide rates among transgender teens.

In a social media post on Tuesday, Blakeman praised lawmakers who approved the measure and blasted one Democratic lawmaker’s comparison of barring transgender athletes from county facilities to the treatment of Jewish people by Nazi Germany.

“Radical Democrat Nassau Legislators calling all of us Nazis who believe it’s unfair and unsafe for biological males to play on girls teams,” Blakeman posted on X. “Disgraceful!!! Offensive to Jews and non-Jews alike. We will never forget!”

Blakeman, a supporter of former President Donald Trump who rode a red wave into office in November 2021, has argued that the order didn’t ban transgender athletes from playing sports. He said it is necessary to protect cisgender girls and women from getting hurt while playing sports.

The New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in March challenging Blakeman’s order on behalf of a women’s roller derby team, the Long Island Roller Rebels. The plaintiffs argued the ban violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws.

State Supreme Court Judge Francis Ricigliano overturned the ban in May, saying the county executive exceeded his authority by issuing the directive.

In the 13-page ruling, Ricigliano said Blakeman wasn’t given authority from the Nassau County Legislature, representing the county’s 19 districts, to issue the order setting the policy.

The legal fight has garnered national media attention amid an ongoing debate over trans women competing in women’s sports, which has become an issue in the upcoming presidential election.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James, both Democrats, have spoken out against the ban, and accused Blakeman of “bullying” transgender youths.

James threatened to take legal action against Blakeman’s ban after her office issued a cease-and-desist letter to Blakeman saying the order violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws. It’s not clear whether she will seek to block the approved legislation. Blakeman filed a federal lawsuit to block James from intervening in the prior dispute, but his legal challenge was rejected.

The state’s ban has drawn praise from former Olympic gold medal champion Caitlyn Jenner, who came out as a transgender woman in 2015 and has become a vocal critic of transgender athletes competing in women’s sports.

In a social media post, Jenner thanked Blakeman for “standing up for protecting girls and women in sports” and said she is “disgusted” but “not shocked” to “hear of the rhetoric from the other side.”

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