New York Judge Strikes Down County's Transgender Athlete Ban

A New York judge struck down Nassau County's ban on female transgender athletes in women's sports in county parks. The ruling came after the Long Island Roller Rebels, a women's roller derby league, challenged the ban, citing state human rights and civil rights statutes.

author-image
Nitish Verma
New Update
New York Judge Strikes Down County's Transgender Athlete Ban

New York Judge Strikes Down County's Transgender Athlete Ban

A New York judge has struck down a Long Island county's order banning female transgender athletes from participating in women's sports in county parks. The order, issued by Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman in February, denied park permits to women's and girls' teams, leagues, or organizations that allowed female transgender athletes to participate.

The Long Island Roller Rebels, a women's roller derby league, challenged the order, arguing that it violated the state's human rights and civil rights statutes, which prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. Judge Francis Ricigliano ruled that Blakeman did not have the authority to issue the order, as there was no corresponding legislative enactment providing him with such authority.

Why this matters: This ruling has broader implications for the ongoing national debate over transgender athletes participating in women's sports, and it may influence similar cases in other states. The outcome of this debate could have a significant impact on the rights and opportunities of transgender individuals in the United States.

Amanda Urena, president of the Long Island Roller Rebels, hailed the decision as a victory against discrimination. "Today's decision is a victory for those who believe that transgender people have the right to participate in sports just like everyone else," Urena said. "County Executive Blakeman's order tried to punish us just because we believe in inclusion and stand against transphobia. Trans people belong everywhere, including in sports, and they will not be erased."

The order impacted over 100 athletic facilities in Nassau County, including ballfields, basketball and tennis courts, swimming pools, and ice rinks. The Long Island Roller Rebels, founded in 2005, welcomes "all transgender women, intersex women, and gender-expansive women" and has at least one league member who would be prohibited from participating under the county's order.

The case is part of a larger national debate over transgender athletes participating in women's sports. LGBTQ+ advocates say bills banning trans youth from participating in sports have passed in 24 states. The decision comes amid controversy over President Joe Biden's stance on transgender and his administration's rewrite of Title IX regulations to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Despite the, Blakeman dismissed the decision, saying it did not address the merits of the case. "Unfortunately, girls and women are hurt by the court,"he said, maintaining that the ban was meant to protect girls and women from getting injured if they were forced to compete against transgender women. The debate over transgender athletes in women's sports continues to spark strong reactions on both sides of the issue.