Nassau County approves controversial transgender athlete ban

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County’s legislature has approved a controversial transgender athlete ban that was endorsed by former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, who is transgender. 

A judge previously struck down Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman’s executive order

The vote was 12-5 in favor along party lines, with two people not voting — one abstained, and one was ill. 

The controversial bill to ban transgender athletes from participating in women’s and girls’ sports at county-owned athletic facilities was reintroduced at the legislature earlier this month. The county has more than 100 public facilities like basketball courts, parks, pools and more that would be off-limits to transgender women playing a sport on a team advertised as one for women and girls. 

Nassau County’s order does not restrict transgender boys and men from competing on boys’ and men’s teams at county facilities.

Judge struck down initial executive order   

Blakeman’s initial legislation was struck down by the courts in May after a judge ruled he didn’t have the authority to impose the ban without legislative approval. 

“Members of the legislature came forward to me and they said, look, we would like to pass this local law to make sure we have fair competition for women, and that we have a safe environment for women,” Blakeman said. 

“Nothing says ‘We hate your kind’ like a law that looks to eliminate hard-fought rights. It’s all about discrimination,” Julie Grey-Owens of Gender Equality New York said. 

“For me, as the mom of a gay, transgender young person, I am deeply, deeply hurt that this is happening in my backyard,” Dolores Covirgu said.   

The New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Roller Rebels, a roller derby team on Long Island that welcomes trans women. They vow to continue to fight and appeal. 

“I don’t worry about the competitiveness. I think about the family structure. I think about the support system that so many people don’t have in our community, especially trans women and trans girls,” transgender athlete Brittan Hardgers said. 

Democrats say the ban promotes private interest over public good. 

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