Long Island County Bans Transgender Athletes in Executive Order

A county on Long Island, N.Y., on Thursday banned athletic organizations that permit transgender girls to compete from using more than 100 county facilities.

Bruce Blakeman, the Nassau County executive and a Republican, signed an executive order requiring any league, team or organization wishing to use a county sports facility to “expressly designate” itself as a male, female or coed team based on its members’ assigned sex at birth. The policy takes effect immediately and does not require legislative approval.

The move was the latest in a series of efforts by officials across the country to ban transgender athletes from competing, particularly in women’s sports. More than 20 states have passed laws restricting transgender athletes from playing school sports in the past several years, according to ESPN.

And last year, the House of Representatives, which is controlled by Republicans, approved a bill that would ban transgender women and girls from competing in women’s sports. The bill has no chance of passing the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, or being signed by President Biden.

According to Mr. Blakeman’s office, the ban will affect thousands of teams across all levels that compete in Nassau County facilities. Last year, the Big East Conference, home to 11 college athletics programs, held its swimming championship in the county. The Big East did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

David Kilmnick, the president of the L.G.B.T. Network, a nonprofit group based on Long Island and in Queens, described the executive order as illegal.

“This discriminatory move not only undermines the principles of inclusivity and fairness but also perpetuates harmful stereotypes and exclusion,” he said.

“New York State law explicitly protects the rights of transgender individuals, ensuring their equal participation in all aspects of life, including sports,” he added. “Attempting to enforce such a ban would be futile and legally untenable.”

When asked at a news conference on Thursday how many transgender athletes compete in Nassau County, Mr. Blakeman said he did not know. He said that less than 1 percent of the county’s residents identified as transgender, without citing a source, and that he was not sure how many, if any, competed at county facilities.

At the news conference, Mr. Blakeman referenced transgender girls who competed on women’s teams outside New York, before saying he wanted to “get ahead of the curve here in Nassau County.”

As Mr. Blakeman signed the order, a small group of protesters gathered outside the county building, chanting, “Trans kids are our kids.”

Some carried signs that said “Bruce Blakeman is just another school bully” and “Pick on someone your own size, Bruce.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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