A New York judge struck down an executive order from Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman banning female transgender athletes from participating in county women’s sports. The ruling came after a legal challenge from the Long Island Roller Rebels, a local women’s roller derby league.

In his 13-page decision, Judge Francis Ricigliano ruled that Blakeman overstepped his authority with the February executive order, which denied park permits to any women’s and girls’ teams, leagues or organizations that allowed female transgender athletes. Ricigliano highlighted the lack of legislative backing for Blakeman’s order, stating it aimed to prevent transgender women from participating in girls’ and women’s athletics in county parks without any supporting legislative enactment.

“This Court finds the County Executive acted beyond the scope of his authority as the Chief Executive Officer of Nassau County, Ricigliano wrote.

President of the Long Island Roller Rebels Amanda Urena hailed the decision as a significant victory against discrimination. “Today’s decision is a victory for those who believe that transgender people have the right to participate in sports just like everyone else, Urena told ABC. “County Executive Blakeman’s order tried to punish us just because we believe in inclusion and stand against transphobia. Trans people belong everywhere, including in sports, and they will not be erased.”

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Blakeman, however, dismissed the ruling as one that skirted the civil rights arguments central to the case, focusing instead on the executive overreach. Unfortunately, girls and women are hurt by the court, he said, maintaining his stance that the ban was meant to protect cisgender girls and women.

The executive order affected over 100 athletic facilities across Nassau County, including ballfields, basketball courts, tennis courts, swimming pools and ice rinks. The roller derby league argued that New York’s human rights and civil rights statutes, including the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), explicitly prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. The league’s lawsuit pointed out that public accommodations cannot deny transgender individuals access to programs and activities aligned with their gender identity.

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