New York AG sends county lawmaker a cease-and-desist letter over trans athlete ban

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New York’s attorney general sent a cease-and-desist letter on Friday slamming a Long Island lawmaker for issuing a “discriminatory and transphobic” executive order designed to keep transgender athletes from playing sports.

Attorney General Letitia James ordered Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman to “immediately rescind” his order on the basis it discriminates against people based sex, gender, identity of expression — a violation of New York law.

“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,” James said Friday. “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.” 

The executive order bars transgender athletes from competing against girls at all 100 sports facilities run by Nassau County, including ball fields and ice rinks. It is believed to be the first ban on transgender participation in sports on a county-wide level in the U.S.

Blakeman argued that transgender athletes don’t belong on the same field as girls, adding that he has been considering instituting the ban for months.

When asked by reporters last week what spurred such a ban to be enacted, Blakeman could cite no examples of such a thing occurring in Nassau County. Neither could the executive director of the agency that oversees high school sports in the county.

“We have not had any issues with transgender athletes participating in section 8 athletics…no complaints, and I’m not sure that there are any,” noted Pat Pizzarelli, of the Nassau County Public High School Athletic Association.

James gave the county executive five days to rescind the order “or else face additional legal action.”

Blakeman doubled down on claims he seeks to protect athletes from “bullying” at a press conference Friday afternoon. He also invited James or her office to meet with county lawyers to examine state and federal law.

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