News (USA)

Women’s roller derby team stands up for trans players against hateful politician

Ann Arbor Brawlstars jammer passes the pack in a roller derby game against the Northern Kentucky Blackouts in Ann Arbor, MI on July 12, 2014.
Ann Arbor Brawlstars jammer passes the pack in a roller derby game against the Northern Kentucky Blackouts in Ann Arbor, MI on July 12, 2014. Photo: Shutterstock

A New York women’s roller derby team is suing a county executive over an ordinance that forbids teams with transgender athletes from using local facilities. Meanwhile, former Olympic decathlete Caitlyn Jenner is rushing to the man’s defense.

Despite warnings from State Attorney General Letitia James, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman has doubled down on his discriminatory mandate. Now the rough-and-tumble group of women plans to take him down in a legal brawl.

The Long Island Roller Rebels has sued, pointing out that discrimination against transgender people is against state civil rights law. The ordinance would force them to break state law to follow local law. But if they don’t follow the local ordinance, they would lose access to the county facilities.

“This cruel policy sends the dangerous message that trans people don’t belong in Nassau County,” member Amanda “Curly Fry” Urena said. “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, nonbinary, and gender-expansive people.”

James issued a cease-and-desist order to Blakeman, saying, “Pernicious discrimination such as this is precisely what New York’s Human and Civil Rights Laws proscribe.” She gave the executive a week to repeal the law before she would initiate legal action. Instead, Blakeman filed a federal lawsuit asking the court to decide whether or not the ordinance passes legal muster — an effort to delay repealing the mandate.

The roller derby team’s lawsuit cites James’ decision in their case.

Jenner, a Republican, has repeatedly denigrated trans athletes, claiming they have an advantage over cisgender women. She insists that trans women should not participate despite regularly competing in women’s golf tournaments herself.

Jenner will make an appearance at a rally in support of Blakeman today. She is expected to use Blakeman’s tortured logic that allowing all women to compete amounts to “bullying” of cisgender women.

“It is an unfair advantage for someone who is a biological male to compete against a biological female,” Blakeman said. “And again, I view this as a form of bullying, and it will not be tolerated. We tolerate no bullying in Nassau County.”

Don't forget to share:

Good News is your section for queer joy! Subscribe to our newsletter to get the most positive and fun stories from the site delivered to your inbox every weekend. Send us your suggestions for uplifiting and inspiring stories.

Support vital LGBTQ+ journalism

Reader contributions help keep LGBTQ Nation free, so that queer people get the news they need, with stories that mainstream media often leaves out. Can you contribute today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated