Judge Strikes Down NY County’s Ban on Female Transgender Athletes After Roller Derby League Sues

Court Overturns Order Denying Park Permits to Inclusive Teams

A New York judge has ruled in favor of inclusivity in athletics, striking down a Long Island county’s ban on female transgender athletes. The decision comes after a local women’s roller derby league challenged the policy.

Judge Cites Lack of Authority for Ban

Judge Francis Ricigliano’s ruling focused on the legal authority behind the ban. He determined that Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman lacked the power to issue the February executive order. The order denied park permits to any women’s and girls’ teams that allowed female transgender athletes to participate.

In his 13-page decision, Judge Ricigliano highlighted the absence of a legal framework supporting the ban. He pointed out that Blakeman’s order was enacted “despite there being no corresponding legislative enactment” granting him such authority.

Civil Liberties Union Applauds Decision

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) represented the roller derby league in the case. They praised the judge’s decision, calling it a victory against discrimination. The NYCLU stated the previous policy aimed to “score cheap political points by peddling harmful stereotypes about transgender women and girls.”

Blakeman Defends Ban, Citing Safety Concerns

County Executive Blakeman defended the ban, arguing it protected girls and women from potential injuries during competition against transgender athletes.

The order impacted over 100 athletic facilities in the densely populated Nassau County, encompassing ballfields, courts, pools, and rinks.

Roller Derby League Cites State Anti-Discrimination Laws

The roller derby league’s lawsuit challenged the ban on legal grounds. Their argument centered on existing state statutes that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.

The lawsuit specifically cited the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) and guidance from the state’s Division of Human Rights. These regulations emphasize that public facilities cannot deny transgender people access to programs based on their gender identity.