In a divisive move, the Nassau County Legislature in New York has passed a controversial law preventing transgender female athletes from participating in girls' and women's sports teams at county-owned facilities. This decision follows a failed attempt earlier this year by Republican County Executive Bruce Blakeman to implement a similar ban through an executive order, which was swiftly challenged in court.

The legislature's 12-5 vote, split along party lines, occurred after legal setbacks for Blakeman's executive order. In May, a judge ruled against it, citing the absence of legislative authority for such a directive. Blakeman is now expected to sign the newly passed bill into law.

Under the legislation, transgender female athletes can only compete on teams that align with the gender assigned to them at birth or on coed teams. This has sparked significant backlash, with advocates for transgender rights filling the legislative hearing to voice opposition, holding signs declaring "trans women are women."

Republican Legislator John R. Ferretti Jr. defended the bill, arguing it does not constitute a ban since transgender women retain the option to participate in men's or coed leagues. However, his remarks were met with skepticism from the audience, who responded with chants of "lies!"

Blakeman initially justified his executive order as a means to protect cisgender girls and women from potential injuries when competing against transgender females. This directive would have affected more than 100 sports facilities across Nassau County, located on Long Island near New York City.

Legal challenges against Blakeman's order were led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who issued a cease and desist letter, and the Long Island Roller Rebels, a women's roller derby league that filed a lawsuit against the ban. The New York Civil Liberties Union, representing the roller derby league, vowed to continue litigation against the new law, labeling it "hateful and blatantly illegal."

The legislation has drawn criticism from Democratic Legislators and civil rights groups, who argue it violates state laws protecting against discrimination based on gender identity. They contend these measures contradict established legal protections and raise broader questions about equality and privacy.

This controversy underscores national debates over transgender rights in sports and highlights ongoing challenges in interpreting anti-discrimination laws. As the situation evolves, the response from legal challenges and public opinion will shape the future of transgender inclusion in sports within Nassau County.