Blakeman introduces bill banning trans girl and women athletes

Blakeman introduces bill banning trans girl and women athletes
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman speaks at a press conference Friday. (Photo by Taylor Herzlich)

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman introduced a bill Friday that would ban transgender girls and women athletes from playing on girls’ and women’s sports teams at county facilities.

The legislation comes a month after a New York judge struck down Blakeman’s similar executive order banning transgender girls and women athletes following a lawsuit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union and a Massapequa women’s roller derby league.

“Women compete on a different level with men…but when you have someone who is a biological male that tries to bully their way onto a girls’ team or a women’s team, it’s unfair and it’s unsafe,” Blakeman said at a press conference Friday.

State Supreme Court Justice Francis Ricigliano ruled on May 10 that the county executive did not have the authority to issue the executive order. The county is appealing the decision.

The Republican county executive said he is confident that the county Legislature will vote through the bill, which is co-sponsored by Republican Legislators Samantha Goetz, Howard Kopel and John Giuffre.

Blakeman said the county Legislature was already planning to codify the ban into law before the unsuccessful executive order.

Despite these assurances, an NYCLU representative said that any attempt to bar transgender girls and women from participating in girls’ and women’s sports is unlawful under the state antidiscrimination law.

“It was true when we successfully struck down County Executive Blakeman’s transphobic policy and it is true now,” NYCLU Staff Attorney Gabriella Larios said in a statement. “If the Nassau County legislature continues to push forward on such harmful legislation, we will see them in court.”

The NYCLU is not the first to challenge the transgender bans on the issue of legality.

State Attorney General Letitia James issued a cease-and-desist letter to Blakeman in February demanding that he rescind his order, calling it “transphobic” and “blatantly illegal.”

Nassau County Minority Leader Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove) said the proposed bill will only cost the county “millions in legal fees and taxpayer money” since the ban has already been deemed illegal.

“The residents of Nassau County were promised tax reductions, lower fees, and a more equitable property assessment system,” DeRiggi-Whitton said. “Instead, they have been burdened with a county executive more focused on stirring up controversy and diverting attention from real issues.

But Blakeman said the bill is meant to protect women and tied it to the protections included in Title IX, a circa 1970s civil rights law that prevents sex discrimination in schools.

The bill – just like the executive order – does not ban transgender boys and men athletes from competing on boys’ and men’s teams since Blakeman said there is no fairness issue.

The county executive said it is dangerous for biological girls and women to play alongside “biological men,” who have physical advantages, and said it is unfair competition and could pose a threat to girl athletes’ scholarships.

“You can compete on a co-ed team where everybody knows it’s men and women playing together. There’s nothing wrong with that. You can compete on a biological male team, so you’re competing on an equal standing,” Blakeman said, “and you can form your own league. We have no problem with a transgender league here in Nassau County.”

But Ash Orr, press relations manager at the National Center for Transgender Equality, said the isolation of transgender individuals is already a problem.

“This legislation, and others like it throughout the country, will have direct and damaging impacts on the lives of transgender athletes in Nassau County and lead to further isolation and stigmatization of transgender athletes, as well as contribute to the broader cultural narratives surrounding the trans community,” Orr said in a statement to Blank Slate Media.

While Blakeman said transgender athletes are “bullying” their way onto girls’ and women’s teams, Orr said transgender students are the real victims of bullying and discrimination.

Orr said protections for women athletes should include increases in funding for women’s sports and preventative measures for sexual assault and abuse, not a ban on transgender athletes.

Despite opposition, Blakeman said he has garnered strong support from Nassau County residents.

“This is not anti-transgender. This is pro-women and pro-girls,” Blakeman said. “Based on our phone calls, our faxes, our emails, our text messages that we get, 80% of the residents in Nassau County agree with the executive order.”

No posts to display


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here