Attorney General James Demands Nassau County Executive Blakeman Rescind Illegal and Transphobic Executive Order

Executive Order Banning Transgender Athletes from County-Run Facilities Violates New York Anti-Discrimination Laws

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today demanded Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman immediately rescind his discriminatory and transphobic executive order that illegally banned transgender women and girls from participating in women’s and girls’ teams at county-run sports facilities. The executive order entitled “An Executive Order for Fairness for Women and Girls in Sports establishes new requirements that prohibit the Nassau County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Museums from issuing permits to any women’s or girls’ sports team with transgender players. The executive order discriminates against transgender women and girls simply for being who they are, and against teams that include transgender women and girls on their rosters, in clear violation of New York’s Civil and Human Rights Laws. In a cease-and-desist order sent today, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) demanded that Nassau County rescind the order in five days or else face additional legal action. 

"The law is perfectly clear: you cannot discriminate against a person because of their gender identity or expression. We have no room for hate or bigotry in New York,” said Attorney General James. “This executive order is transphobic and blatantly illegal. Nassau County must immediately rescind the order, or we will not hesitate to take decisive legal action.” 

Under New York law, it is illegal to discriminate against an individual based on their sex or gender identity or expression. In addition to violating basic civil and human rights, the executive order will impose undue increased scrutiny on women’s and girls’ teams and leagues and will also subject all athletes on women’s and girls’ sports teams to intrusive and invasive questioning and other verification requirements. 

The executive order forces sports teams and leagues to make an unfair and unnecessary choice: openly discriminate against transgender women and girls in violation of state law, or find somewhere else to play. The executive order applies to more than 100 venues, including general playing fields in parks, baseball, football, and soccer fields, basketball and tennis courts, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and ice rinks. This discriminatory order will not only impact Nassau County-based teams and leagues but will also undoubtedly deter teams from other counties from participating in Nassau County games and sporting events. 

The OAG encourages New Yorkers who have witnessed or experienced gender-based discrimination to file a confidential complaint with the Civil Rights Bureau

This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Kyle Rapinan, Taylor Brown, and Zoe Ridolfi-Starr, Research Analyst Joseph Flores, and Section Chief for Hate Crimes and Bias Prevention Rick Sawyer, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Travis England and Bureau Chief Sandra Park, all of the Civil Rights Bureau. Additional support was provided by Special Counsel Galen Sherwin. The Civil Rights Bureau is part of the Division for Social Justice, which is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Meghan Faux and overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.