Massapequa roller derby league sues Blakeman over transgender girls ban

Massapequa roller derby league sues Blakeman over transgender girls ban
Protestors rally in front of the Nassau County Legislative Building in opposition to Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman's ban on transgender women and girl athletes from competing on female sports teams. (Photo by Karen Rubin)

The New York Civil Liberties Union and Long Island Roller Rebels, an all-female roller derby league, filed a lawsuit Monday against Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman in response to his executive order banning transgender girls from participating in girls’ and women’s sports at county facilities.

“We are disappointed that the New York Civil Liberties Union is not joining us in our fight to protect women,” said Blakeman in a statement.

All sports teams using Nassau County facilities have to register under three categories: men’s and boys’, women’s and girls’ and co-ed teams, according to Blakeman. The executive order, which Blakeman signed into effect on Feb. 22, forces transgender girl and women athletes to compete in the leagues that correlate with their sex assigned at birth at county facilities, meaning boys’ and men’s teams or co-ed teams. The executive order does not affect transgender boys and men.

The suit calls Blakeman’s executive order “discriminatory” and “unlawful,” arguing that the order violates New York’s Human Rights Law and Civil Rights Law as well as guidance from the state Education Department.

The New York State Education Department prohibits discrimination based on gender identity. When it comes to gender-segregated physical activities, the state guidelines state: “Students should be allowed to participate in a manner most consistent with their gender identity without penalty.”

The Long Island Roller Rebels, which are based in Massapequa, currently have at least one league member who would be prohibited from participating in their league under the executive order, according to the lawsuit.

The Roller Rebels have historically used Nassau County facilities for their events, including outdoor skating rinks at Eisenhower Park and Cedar Creek Park, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit also states that as an inclusive women’s league, the Roller Rebels do not inquire about players’ sex assigned at birth, which they would be required to do under the order.

The Roller Rebels would be denied permits to use Nassau County facilities for their events if they did not begin inquiring about players’ sex assigned at birth. The league hosts games, practices and annual charity games.

“We try to be open to people of all types and this order really shuts down the possibilities for our league to grow,” Roller Rebels player and team Vice President Curly Fry told Newsday.

After Blakeman signed the executive order, New York State Attorney General Letitia James issued a cease-and-desist letter to Blakeman demanding that he rescind the order.

“We have no room for hate or bigotry in New York,” said James. “This executive order is transphobic and blatantly illegal.”

In response, Blakeman and the Floral Park parents of a 16-year-old girls’ volleyball player filed a federal lawsuit against James. The suit argued that the county has a constitutional right to protect women and girls from unfair competition and personal injury.

No posts to display


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here