New York Transgender Sports Ban Sparks Legal Battle: AG Urges Repeal

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) has called for the immediate repeal of an executive order issued by Nassau County executive Bruce Blakeman, which restricts transgender women and girls from participating in athletic events at county-run facilities. James contends that the order, enacted last week, is a clear violation of state law that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression.

In response to Blakeman’s order, which defines an individual’s gender as their “biological sex at birth” and mandates participation based on sex assigned at birth, James labeled it as “transphobic and blatantly illegal.” She urged Nassau County to rescind the order promptly, threatening decisive legal action if not complied with.

Blakeman defended his executive order at a recent news conference, emphasizing that transgender athletes can still compete in all-boys or coed leagues within the county. The order impacts over 100 public venues, including parks, sports fields, and recreational facilities.

In a cease and desist letter sent to Blakeman, James’s office insisted on the repeal of the executive order within five business days, warning of potential legal consequences for non-compliance. The letter argued that the order violates the state’s human rights law, which prohibits discrimination based on sex or gender identity in places of public accommodation.

The letter further highlighted concerns that the executive order unfairly targets transgender women and girls, subjecting female sports teams to increased scrutiny and potentially imposing intrusive inquiries. James’s office argued that such discrimination harms both cisgender and transgender women and girls.

Similar restrictions on transgender athletes in other states have faced challenges, with proposals such as tracking menstrual cycles in Florida drawing widespread criticism. Blakeman has shown no intention of rescinding the executive order, despite opposition from top New York Democrats, including Governor Kathy Hochul, who have condemned it as dangerous and politically motivated. The ACLU of New York is exploring various options to challenge the order.

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