Nassau County's transgender athlete ban struck down in county supreme court


The Nassau County Supreme Court struck down County Executive Bruce Blakeman’s ban on transgender athletes in women’s sports on county facilities on May 10, after a legal challenge by the New York Civil Liberties Union.

The lawsuit was filed in March challenging the ban after the Long Island Roller Rebels, a county flat track roller derby league, was barred from using county facilities for welcoming trans women into the league.

“We are gratified the court has struck down a harmful policy that belongs in the dustbin on history,” Gabriella Larios, a NYCLU staff attorney wrote in a statement. “The ruling deals a serious blow to County Executive Blakeman’s attempt to score cheap political points by peddling harmful stereotypes about transgender women and girls. We will continue to ensure that the attacks against LGBTQ+ rights that are sweeping the nation will not stand in New York.”

Blakeman said in a statement that the court ruling hurts girls and women.

“(There was) Lack of courage from a judge who didn’t want to decide the case on its merits,” Blakeman said. “Nassau County will appeal without much faith in the Appellate Division applying the law without far left doctrine being used to undermine women’s sports.”

Blakeman signed his executive order in February demanding sports, leagues, organizations, teams, programs or sport entities operating in county facilities designate themselves based on male, female or co-ed, and then only accept athletes who meet that criteria according to what was originally listed on their birth certificate. While those born male would not be allowed to participate in female teams, the order does not ban females from joining male teams.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James sent a cease-and-desist letter to Blakeman also in March, demanding he rescind his executive order. Blakeman responded a few days later by joining Mark Mullen, a Nassau County parent of a female athlete, to file a federal lawsuit contesting the order.

The request from Blakeman for an order stopping James from suing the county over its ban was denied in federal court in early April.

A motion to dismiss Blakeman’s lawsuit against James was dismissed in mid April.