Editorial: Blakeman sinks to new low in transgender ban

Editorial: Blakeman sinks to new low in transgender ban

Bruce Blakeman could not cite a single case in Nassau County of a transgender girl or woman competing on a female sports team that plays on county facilities at his press conference last week.

Nassau’s county executive also said he did not know how many transgender athletes are competing in Nassau at a time when transgender people make up 0.5%-1% of the county’s population.

He briefly referenced a women’s basketball game in which an opposing coach allegedly forfeited against a team with a transgender athlete during the press conference at which he surrounded himself with young girls holding signs saying “Protect Women’s Rights.”

But when asked where this happened, he replied, “I believe that was in Connecticut.”

The absence of a problem did not stop Blakeman from signing an executive order barring transgender girls and women from competing at any sporting event or competition at all county-owned facilities, such as pools, beaches, gyms and athletic fields.

We would call this a solution in search of a problem. But that would understate the cruelty, bigotry and perhaps illegality behind an order aimed at vulnerable children.

As Great Neck businessman Robert Zimmerman, a gay man who unsuccessfully ran for Congress against fellow gay man George Santos, pointed out, transgender youth “face a suicide rate of almost 40% and violence against LGBTQ young people is at new heights.”

The executive order, which goes into effect immediately at more than 100 sites, requires organizations applying for a permit to “expressly designate” whether the teams are male, female or co-ed based on their members’ “biological sex at birth.”

This means that organizations such as Little Leagues and travel soccer teams will be required to, at a minimum, check players’ birth certificates.

Blakeman spokesman Chris Boyle said the order will be policed by the county’s Parks Department, which issues the permits. Perhaps Parks Department employees will receive badges to carry out their new responsibilities.

We assume privately run sports leagues have their own policies regarding transgender players based on their impact on competition and don’t need Blakeman’s guidance.

For public schools, the state Education Department determines how transgender issues are handled.

So, the question is why Nassau County would need to get involved in a decision that would be better handled by individual sports leagues and the state Education Department.

Blakeman justified the ban by standing the truth on its head

“It’s very important to me as county executive that we set a tone and tenor of respect for all people,” Blakeman said. “However, what we are finding out in the last few months is that there is a movement for biological males to bully their way into competing in sports or leagues or teams that identity themselves or advertise themselves as girls’ or female or women’s teams or leagues. We find that unacceptable.”

Just how exactly does the executive order set a tone of respect for all people? Certainly not for transgender girls.

And who are the “we” who found out about this secret movement of biological males bullying their way into competitions?

And where is this movement taking place?

Certainly not in Nassau County, where even Blakeman said he did not know of a single case of a transgender girl or woman competing on female sports teams that play on county facilities.

And if Blakeman is so concerned about ensuring fair competition, does he have any plans for boys and girls who are unusually large or small for their ages? Will the county soon step in to have leagues separate players by size or whether or not they have reached puberty?

Blakeman topped off his barrage of misinformation by saying he was  “not precluding anybody from participating in sports.”

This, too, is wrong. The order is guaranteed to drive out transgender girls who don’t want others to know their status if for no other reason than their personal safety.

Blakeman’s announcement came just weeks after a 16-year-old nonbinary student in Oklahoma died following an altercation in a high school girls’ bathroom.

What’s next for Blakeman, who served as the Nassau County Republican Party’s liaison to former President Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign?

Fellow MAGA Republicans have in recent days also voiced opposition to same-sex marriage, abortion, contraception and even recreational sex.

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled 8-1 last week that frozen embryos are considered children under state law, putting in vitro fertilization on hold in the state.

Will Blakeman take action based on any of these other movements?

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James joined Democratic state and county officials as well as LGBTQ and civil liberties officials in blasting Blakeman’s order for what it is and raising questions about its legality.

“There is nothing lower than trying to score cheap political points by putting a target on the backs of some of our state’s most vulnerable children,” Hochul said in a statement. “We’re proud New York has some of the nation’s strongest protections for the LGBTQ+ community, and my administration is committed to enforcing these laws.”

James said in a statement that her office was reviewing its legal options, describing Blakesman’s order as “transphobic and deeply dangerous.”

“My office is charged with enforcing and upholding [anti-discrimination] laws, and we stand up to those who violate them and trespass on the rights of marginalized communities,” James added.

Blakeman’s executive order is not his first venture into the culture wars and this one coincides with a series of setbacks for him and his administration.

On Friday, he suffered another legal setback in his No. 1 economic project – a multibillion-dollar resort and casino at the Nassau Coliseum.

A state judge ruled for a second time that the Las Vegas Sands lacks a valid lease to operate the Nassau Coliseum. The judge found in April that Nassau’s planning commission violated open meeting laws in a ruling on the lease.

Blakeman’s political clout was also recently dinged following the loss of Republican Nassau County Legislator Mazi Pilip to now Democrat Congressman-elect Tom Suozzi in the race for New York’s CD-03. Blakeman was a strong backer and visible supporter of Pilip, who lost by 8 percentage points.

And one of Pilip’s and Blakeman’s favorite targets – President Biden’s handling of the southern border – took a major hit recently when House and Senate Republicans rejected a very conservative immigration reform plan after former President Trump called for them to turn it down to aid his presidential run.

So is Blakeman’s executive order a coincidence following these setbacks? We don’t think so.

Blakeman has made decisions with heavy political implications before.

His administration filed a lawsuit in June against an annual hip-hop festival three days before the event was scheduled to take place, citing violence at two hip-hop concerts held outside Nassau years before.

The concert went forward after its promoters agreed to contribute $80,000 to cover the cost of the county Police Department’s role in policing the event.

In December, Blakeman demanded that Hofstra University President Susan Poser resign or be fired for sounding insufficiently tough following Hamas’ vicious terrorist attack on Israelis.

The problem was that unlike some university presidents at elite institutions around the country, Poser responded quickly and forcefully to the attack.

Just two days after the attack she called it a “horrific and brutal attack by Hamas on Israel and the unspeakable, organized violence and hostage-taking against men, women, and children.”

And Hofstra suffered none of the protests and antisemitism seen at other collect campuses where school administrations did not immediately speak out strongly.

Blakeman has now returned to the culture wars. This time he is targeting vulnerable transsexual girls and boys who want to play sports. These are children, who Blakeman says are a problem.

It is hard to think how he could go any lower.

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  1. When biological men bully their way into women’s sports, thats a problem. It is persisting because good men were doing nothing. I applaud Bruce Blakeman for the courage to stand for whats right for women and girls.

  2. It was fairly obvious why he attacked the Hofstra president and called for her resignation – her commentary on Israel and Gaza were merely an excuse to retaliate for Hofstra’s opposition to the casino on the Nassau Coliseum site and the school had filed a lawsuit pointing out that there were no public hearings or commentary on the proposal. (Hofstra University is next door to the Nassau County site.)
    He had absolutely no business demanding her resignation. Hofstra is a PRIVATE university that he/Nassau County has no say in the governance of.
    This new executive order is clearly illegal and violates civil rights, validates fears, spreads disinformation, and puts people’s lives in danger. It also ignores the actual science of becoming transgender. A transgender woman is not a man.

  3. Bruce Blakeman, once only the consummate political hack, now also bigot, transphobic, homophobe, and MAGAt extraordinaire.

    The good and decent people of Nassau County are better than this. Much better.

    It’s time to relegate Blakeman, and his complicit MAGA Republicans, to the great trash pile of history.

  4. I applaud Blakeman for his stand on trans-gender sports competiton. A male can claim he is a woman…BUT anatomically that just ain’t so!!

  5. Even if Blakeman did not mention any cases of a biological men (Transgender woman) bully its way into women’s sports, that doesnt mean it never happened. Could be that Bruce Blakeman did not want to refer to anyone (biological man or women who comptede againt him/her and lost). Could be that there were no case but Mr. Blakeman did the new rule pre-emptively.

    Nonetheless, Blakeman did the correct thing by preventing the future biological men bully their way into women’s sports.


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