Roller derby league take legal action against anti-trans order and tell trans women: ‘We want you’

Roller derby league Long Island Roller Rebels are suing a county leader over an anti-trans order that would ban trans women from playing on county-run parks and fields. 

Long Island’s first flat-track roller derby league, which formed in 2005, has taken legal action, backed by the New York Civil Liberties Union, over what’s being described as an “anti-trans” executive order that was issued this month by Nassau County on Long Island. 

The order from Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman prevents women’s and girl’s leagues and teams with trans players from using county-run park and fields. 

For our plaintiff @LIRollerRebels, this policy would bar them from public-run venues where they would otherwise play just because they believe in inclusion and reject transphobia.

Furthermore, it undermines team unity and encourages divisiveness by policing member’s identities.

— NYCLU (@NYCLU) March 11, 2024

Blakeman has argued that his order, which is being weighted by at least two courts, as reported by Reuters, is needed to protect girls and woman. 

He said in an interview: “Anybody who would argue biological males are not bigger, larger and faster than biological females is a fool.” However, the New York Civil Liberties Union has described it as “cruel” and “dangerous” – as well as “divisive”.

“We’ll do our very best to keep fighting”

During a recent interview with The Independent, the league’s vice president Amanda Urena said: “We want trans women to know that we want you to come play with us, and we’ll do our very best to keep fighting and making sure that this is a safe space for you to play.”

Urena, who identifies as queer and plays under the name “Curly Fry”, says the ban will make it difficulty to recruit and host competitions with other leagues as Long Island Roller Rebels is open to everyone, including trans players. 

“If people gave up playing sports because they thought they were going to lose, we wouldn’t have a sports industry,” they told The Independent. “I love playing against people that are faster and stronger because that’s how I get better.”

State Attorney General Letitia James has called for a repeal of the ban on the ground of it violating state anti-discrimination laws. 

New York is one of the 22 states that forbids discrimination on the basis of gender identity. 

The Nassau County order is just the latest in a long line of attacks against trans athletes in recent years. Just two weeks ago, UK Labour leader Keir Starmer says he supports trans sports bans.

Last week, Caitlyn Jenner added fuel to the fire. The former Olympian turned Fox News commentator, who is trans, said trans women are not “real women” and called for chromosome testing to be brought back in sports. 

Also, in the last few months, a number of major sporting federations, including Badminton EnglandBritish Rowing and Swim England, have barred transgender women from competing.

PinkNews has contacted Long Island Roller Rebels for comment. 

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