Nassau County, New York bans transgender girls and women from competing at county facilities on teams that match their gender identity

The Nassau County Legislature has voted to ban transgender girls and women from competing at county facilities on teams and leagues that align with their gender identity.

The local law passed Monday evening 12 to 5. It is one of many laws in the United States that restrict transgender athletes from participating in sports. The party breakdown of the vote was not immediately available, but Republicans hold a majority of the seats.

“I am gratified that the Republican Majority in the legislature voted in favor of this common sense measure to protect the integrity of women’s sports and the safety of women participants,” Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, a Republican, told CNN via email.

Nassau County, according to its website, is the wealthiest county in New York. It’s located on Long Island and went for Biden by 54.2% in the 2020 presidential election.

New York is among 25 states without statewide laws banning transgender students from competing on sports teams that align with their gender identities, according to data from Movement Advancement Project, a nonprofit think tank. Other states have laws or regulations banning such participation, the project’s data shows.

When the bill passed, several people in the crowd erupted and chanted “shame, shame, shame.”

This is not the first effort to ban transgender girls and women from Nassau County sports facilities. On February 22, Blakeman issued an executive order that he said was designed to create “fairness for women and girls in sports” and would ban transgender girls and women from playing at county facilities that align with their gender identity. A New York Supreme Court judge struck it down in May, ruling that Blakeman did not have the legislative authority to issue such an order.

Doctors, psychologists and community members called the bill that passed Monday harmful and illegal, citing the increased suicide rates among transgender teens as compared with cisgender teens.

A 16-year-old, who said she is an LGBTQ+ ally asked the legislators to reconsider the bill because “this hurts people. If people die, it’s on you. People killing themselves, suicide; it’s on you. Remember that.”

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people 10 to 14 years old and 20 to 34, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Trevor Project estimates that more than 1.8 million LGBTQ+ young people ages 13-24 seriously consider suicide each year in the U.S. — and at least one person attempts suicide every 45 seconds.

Those in favor of the local law deny the bill is hateful.

“We don’t hate anyone. … I understand your disagreement with this bill, I do,” Nassau County Legislator John Giuffrè, a Republican who voted in favor of the law, said during the meeting.

In March, the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Long Island Roller Rebels, a women’s flat track roller derby league from Nassau County, arguing the now-defunct executive order violated New York’s human rights law and civil rights law, according to a news release from the NYCLU. CNN has reached out for an update in that case.

The group also responded on X after Monday’s approval of the measure calling it, “a hateful and blatantly illegal bill. If signed into law, we’ll see Nassau in court – again.”

Republican County Legislator Giuffrè says he believes the law will stand up to scrutiny.

“I believe that the court challenges will be defeated and I believe that the constitution … will prevail,” Giuffrè said.

In March, New York Attorney General Letitia James demanded that Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman rescind his executive order and called it “discriminatory and transphobic executive order” in a March press release.

CNN reached out to James’ office Monday evening for comment.

“What we’re doing is protecting women,” Republican Legislator John R. Ferretti Jr. said. “Their safety and integrity of their sporting events.”

The law will go into effect as soon as Blakeman signs it, according to his office.

CNN’s Ashley R. Williams, Michelle Watson, Eric Levenson, and Maria Sole Campinoti contributed to this report.

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