New York Court Sides with Trans Rights, Dismisses Nassau County’s Athlete Ban

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman proposed a ban that would stop female transgender athletes from participating in women’s sports in county parks, but it was struck down by a New York judge with an executive order .

Less Than 1.5%

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At this point in America’s long and difficult relationship with its transgender citizens, these individuals make up less than 1.5% of the population, but remain a constant source of contention across the political aisle.

The Newest Ban

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Among this small percentage of the population, there is an even smaller number of transgender athletes who are forced to be at the center of mainstream media and political arguments like the newest ban from Bruce Blakeman.

Judge Ruling

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Judge Francis Ricigliano ruled that the ban was issued without the proper legal authority or legislative support that Blakeman would need to make such a wide sweeping decision.

Beyond Blakemen’s Authority

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After his ruling, Judge Ricigliano wrote, “This Court finds the County Executive acted beyond the scope of his authority as the Chief Executive Officer of Nassau County.”

Long Island Roller Rebels

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Blakemen’s order was originally challenged by a local women’s roller derby league known as the Long Island Roller Rebels who made Judge Ricigliano aware of the situation.

Violating Gendra

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The Roller Rebels went to the judge and alleged that the new ban was discriminatory and violated New York’s Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA).

Representing the Rebels

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Representing the Roller Rebels was the The New York Civil Liberties Union, who  cited state anti-discrimination laws that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.

Denying Access

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In their argument the New York Civil Liberties Union said, “Public accommodations cannot deny transgender people access to programs and activities consistent with their gender identity.”

A Massive Victory

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President of the Long Island Roller Rebels, Amanda Urena, celebrated the final decision as a massive victory for inclusivity and transgender rights supporters.

Like Everyone Else

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Urena said, “Today’s decision is a victory for those who believe that transgender people have the right to participate in sports just like everyone else.”

Belonging Everywhere

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Urena went on to say,  “County Executive Blakeman’s order tried to punish us just because we believe in inclusion and stand against transphobia. Trans people belong everywhere, including in sports, and they will not be erased.”

All Across the County

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If the ban had been passed without the Roller Rebel’s challenge, it would have affected more than 100 athletic facilities in Nassau County, which include ballfields, courts, pools, and ice rinks.

Another Failed Attempt

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In a related case, a federal judge also rejected Blakeman’s attempt to prevent the state attorney from intervening and taking legal action against his proposed ban.

Blatantly Illegal

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As New York Attorney General Letitia James developed her strategy to take down the ban, she called the executive order “transphobic and blatantly illegal.”

Perfectly Clear

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James went on to say, “The law is perfectly clear: you cannot discriminate against a person because of their gender identity or expression. We have no room for hate or bigotry in New York.”

Making Sports Accessible

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After the decision was made, the New York Civil Liberties Union also celebrated it and highlighted the importance of sports and their accessibility for all.

Cheap Political Points

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 The New York Civil Liberties Union said they were proud to overturn a harmful policy that attempted to “score cheap political points by peddling harmful stereotypes about transgender women and girls.”

Challenging the Decision

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However, not everyone was pleased with the decision. Blakemen quickly dismissed the ruling and announced his intentions to challenge the decision.

Avoiding Merits

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Blakemen said, “The plaintiffs conceded that I had the authority to issue the Executive Order and the judge on his own went out of his way to avoid ruling on the merits.”

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