Protesters Rally Against Nassau Transgender Athlete Ban


Demonstrators rallied outside of the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola Saturday to protest legislation passed June 24 banning transgender athletes from participating in women’s and girls’ sports at county-owned facilities.

More than 75 people gathered to protest the legislation that would require whoever is in charge of organizing girls’ or women’s sports events to ask each member of the involved teams what sex they were assigned at birth. Any teammates who were not assigned female at birth would be expelled. 

“Trans people are under attack! What do we do? Stand up, fight back,” demonstrators shouted from the building steps.  


Juli Grey-Owens, Executive Director of Gender Equality New York, organized the rally and called out the legislature’s Republican majority for imposing the ban with no evidence of injuries by transgender women in female sports games in Nassau County, Long Island or New York State.

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, a Republican, cited injuries to three girls by a biological male in a basketball game in New England and injuries to girls on a Maryland volleyball team by a biological male. 

A leader in opposition of the ban Nassau County Legislator Arnold W. Drucker (D-Woodbury), who attended the rally, condemned the bill and urged community members to keep fighting.

“Just a few days ago the Republican majority of the Legislator over our passionate opposition passed a law that is repugnant, unconscionable and downright disgusting,” he said. “The struggle for equality is a lifelong cause we can never rest nor should we.”


The ban was endorsed by former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, who is transgender. Speakers at the demonstration said she cannot speak on the matter and is not a representative of transgender people.

“Caitlyn Jenner cannot speak authoritatively on competing as a trans athlete since her years of competition were done as a white male who was thought to be cisgender and heterosexual. He competed safely and without any issues,” in contradiction of her statements. 

In contradiction to her statements, Jenner plays in women’s golf tournaments and uses a pink golf pin to tee off which is typically reserved for females, said Marla, a Nassau resident.

The New York State Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, credit, places of public accommodation, internships, domestic services, volunteer firefighting, and private, non-sectarian educational institutions based upon actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

“In New York State we must allow individuals to use the facility that is consistent with their gender identity regardless of the individual’s sex assigned at birth, anatomy, gender, medical history, appearance or sex indicated on the individual’s identification,” said Grey-Owens. 

There is no credible evidence supporting trans women having an advantage over cisgender women in sports, said Elisa Crespo, New Pride Agenda Executive Director.

Legislator Rose Marie Walker (R-TK) said she was in support of separate sports leagues for transgender athletes. 

Marla responded to Walker’s statement with the question, “Which leaves us asking Representative Walker, are you a product of Title IX or segregation?”

More than 2.6 million children show up in emergency rooms with sports injuries each year according to a report by Yale Medicine

This isn’t about safety, said Maria O’Leary, Nassau County resident and mother of a transgender man. Nassau County isn’t doing anything else to ensure the safety of children while playing sports. 

“Are they policing leagues that use county facilities in any way at all, no. Are they checking the equipment, no. Are they making sure that coaches and others are certified in first aid or cpr, no,” she said. 

The age of the athlete, the sport being played and the stage of their transition were all things that weren’t taken into account in this bill, O’Leary said. 

“The fact is that this bill as it is written fails to account for the complexity of the situation. The 12 Republican legislators who voted to pass had not done their homework,” O’Leary said. 

Earlier this year, Blakeman tried to enact an executive order only allowing biological females to compete in designated girls’ and women’s sports. This executive order was quickly challenged by New York Attorney General Letitia James, as well as the Long Island Roller Rebels, a local women’s roller-derby team.

Curly Fry, the President of the Long Island Roller Rebels, represented the team at the rally and said she was disheartened to have to be there and they would continue to fight against the ban. 

New York Judge Judge Francis Ricigliano, ruled in May that he didn’t have the authority to issue the order and only a legislative body could pass such a measure.

Members of the legislature came forward to Blakemen after his executive order was blocked by the judge and said they wanted to pass this legislation and he encouraged them to do so, he said. 

Nassau County lawmakers voted 12-5 to pass the legislation. The law would not apply to Nassau County’s boys’ and men’s sports teams or co-ed teams. Blakeman is expected to sign the newly passed legislation into law.

“We respect everybody’s lifestyle here in Nassau County, we embrace them, respect them and love them,” he said. “It’s not anti-anything, it’s pro-women.”

The New York Civil Liberties Union said in a statement “If the Nassau County legislature continues to push forward on such harmful legislation, we will see them in court.”

June is LGBTQ+ pride month.