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Nassau County legislators ban trans women from all-women county sports

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, at podium, speaks during a news conference.
Philip Marcelo
/
AP
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, at podium, speaks during a news conference.

The Republican-led legislature passed a bill on Monday that bans transgender women from participating in all-women’s sports teams on Nassau County properties. County Executive Bruce Blakeman, whoseexecutive order to the same effect got reversed in court, is expected to sign it.

The law prohibits transgender women and girls from playing on all-female sports teams in dozens of county facilities, including pools, basketball courts and soccer fields. It does not apply to all-male teams or co-ed teams.

LGBTQ activists and parents of trans athletes rallied against the bill in Mineola ahead of the vote. They carried signs saying, “Protect trans youth” and “Trans girls are girls.”

“The NYCLU’s message to the county is simple: We will see you in court,” said Gabriella Larios, an attorney with the New York Civil Liberties Union. The NYCLU represented the Long Island Roller Rebels in the league’s successful lawsuit to overturn Blakeman’s executive order banning trans women.

“It is abundantly clear that any effort to ban transgender women and girls from participating in women’s and girls’ sports is prohibited by New York state’s anti-discrimination laws,” Larios said.

Before the vote, legislators heard several public comments — overwhelmingly against the bill — and debated the necessity and wisdom of codifying a ban into law.

“What we’re doing is protecting women,” said Leg. John Ferretti, Jr. (R-Levittown). “We feel that this bill protects women, their safety, and the integrity of their sporting events. That’s what this vote is about.”

Leg. Debra Mule (D-Freeport) excoriated the bill as an expensive waste of time and an embarrassment to the county.

“This is a bill that doesn’t solve any existing problem, that is blatantly illegal, that will waste millions of dollars in legal fees — money which could be used to solve other problems,” Mule said.

The controversial ban has been the source of months of legal wrangling, starting with Blakeman’s executive order in February.

Desiree reports on the lives of military service members, veterans, and their families for WSHU as part of the American Homefront project. Born and raised in Connecticut, she now calls Long Island home.