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NYCLU Sues Nassau County for Discriminatory Anti-Trans Sports Ban 

NASSAU COUNTY – Today, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) filed a lawsuit against Nassau County over its February 22, 2024 executive order banning transgender girls and women from participating in girls’ and women’s sports at county-run facilities. The lawsuit argues that the policy violates New York’s Human Rights Law and Civil Rights Law, which explicitly prohibit discrimination based on gender identity following passage of New York’s Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA).

“Trans people who play sports need support and affirmation, not to be a political target. Nassau County’s cynical attempt to shut them out of public spaces is a blatant violation of our state’s civil and human rights laws. It also speaks to growing, nationwide attacks against LGBTQ+ rights, and we won’t stand for this hatred here in New York,” said Gabriella Larios, staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union. “As promised the day this executive order was issued, we’re taking action so that the courts relegate this harmful, transphobic policy to the dustbin of history, where it belongs.”

The executive order specifically bars transgender girls and women from girls’ and women’s sports in which their cisgender peers participate, based solely on the fact that they are trans. The far-reaching executive order applies to more than 100 venues, including general playing fields in parks, football, baseball, and soccer fields, basketball and tennis courts, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and ice rinks. It impacts all types of recreational and competitive sports, regardless of age, ability, or skill level. To comply with the order, these groups—and the people who participate in and run them—will be forced to make invasive inquiries about cis women and trans women’s gender identities alike, intrude upon their privacy and bodily autonomy, and “out” people as transgender.

The plaintiff in today’s lawsuit is Long Island Roller Rebels, a Nassau County recreational women’s flat track roller derby league. Under the executive order, the league, which welcomes trans women, is barred from using Nassau County’s facilities.

“This cruel policy sends the dangerous message that trans people don’t belong in Nassau County,” said Curly Fry, a member of Roller Rebels. “As a league committed to building community and providing a safe space for everybody, we reject this policy, which bars us from public-run venues where we would otherwise play and practice just because we believe in inclusion and stand against transphobia. We hope the court sees this policy for what it is – transphobic and unjust – and makes sure Nassau County is a safe space for trans, non-binary, and gender-expansive people.”

In addition to violating New York State’s Human Rights and Civil Rights Law, the policy violates guidance from the New York State Division of Human Rights, which confirms that public accommodations cannot deny transgender people access to programs and activities consistent with their gender identity, and guidance from the New York State Education Department (NYSED), which confirms that students must be allowed to participate in physical education and athletic activities in accordance with their gender identity.

Bills banning trans youth from participating in sports already have passed in twenty-four states, although some of these laws have been blocked by active lawsuits. Those bills are based on inaccurate stereotypes about biology, athleticism, and gender.

NYCLU counsel on this case includes attorneys Gabriella Larios, Bobby Hodgson, Molly Biklen, and paralegal Angelica Ceballos.

Find the case materials here:

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