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Roller Derby League’s Lawsuit Leads to Judge Striking Down NY County’s Ban on Transgender Female Athletes

Judge strikes down NY county's ban on female transgender

On Friday, a New York judge invalidated a directive from a Long Island County that banned female transgender athletes following a legal challenge from a local women’s roller derby league.

Judge Francis Ricigliano’s ruling determined that Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman lacked the authority to issue the February executive order, which denied park permits to women’s and girl’s teams and allowed female transgender athletes to participate. Ricigliano emphasized in his 13-page decision that the order targeted transgender women’s involvement in girls’ and women’s athletics in county parks without legislative backing.

Amanda Urena, president of the Long Island Roller Rebels, hailed the ruling as a huge victory against discrimination, asserting that it underscores the right of transgender individuals to participate in sports without prejudice.

The New York Civil Liberties Union, representing the league, lauded the decision as a rejection of a harmful policy perpetuating stereotypes about transgender women and girls.

New York judge strikes down Nassau County trans sports ban

Blakeman criticized the ruling, contending that it failed to address the case’s merits and lamenting its purported adverse effects on girls and women.

Blakeman had argued that the ban aimed to safeguard girls and women from potential injuries if compelled to compete against transgender women. The ban impacted over 100 athletic facilities in Nassau County, including ballfields, courts, pools, and rinks.

However, the roller derby league contended that state laws explicitly prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, citing the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act and guidance from the state Division of Human Rights.

The league initiated legal action after applying for permits to host games at roller rinks in county parks, reiterating its commitment to inclusivity and asserting that at least one league member would be affected by the county’s order.

In a separate legal proceeding, a federal judge rejected Blakeman’s attempt to block the state attorney general’s office from intervening against the ban, which the office deemed a violation of anti-discrimination laws.

Advocates for LGBTQ+ rights note that bills restricting transgender youth from participating in sports have passed in 24 states.

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