Former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner backs New York county’s ban on transgender female athletes

MINEOLA, N.Y. — Former Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner said Monday she supported a local New York official’s order banning female sports teams with transgender athletes from using county-owned facilities.

The ban applies to more than 100 sports facilities in New York City’s Long Island suburbs. Jenner, speaking with Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman at his office in Mineola, said allowing transgender athletes like herself to compete against other women will ruin women’s sports for years to come.

“Let’s stop it now while we still can,” said the reality TV star, who came out as a transgender woman in 2015.

The LGBT Network, a Long Island-based advocacy group, called Jenner’s comments a “stunning contradiction” to her own identity as a transgender woman, which is “not only hypocritical but harmful” to the LGBTQ community.

“It is disheartening to see someone who has experienced the challenges of being marginalized actively contribute to the oppression of others within the same community,” David Kilmnick, president of the group, said in a statement. “Such actions only serve to amplify the voices of intolerance and undermine collective efforts towards a more inclusive society.”

Blakeman, a Republican elected in 2022, issued an executive order in February requiring teams, leagues or organizations applying for a permit from the county Parks and Recreation Department to “explicitly indicate” whether they are male, female or co-ed athletes.

Teams classified as “female” would not be licensed if they allowed transgender athletes to compete.

The ban does not apply to men’s teams with transgender athletes. It includes all Nassau County facilities, including ball fields, basketball and tennis courts, swimming pools and ice rinks.

Jenner, 74, competed against men when she won the 1976 Olympic gold medal in the decathlon. She said she had “sympathy” for LGBTQ people and “understands their struggles,” but argued that allowing transgender people to compete with women would undermine women’s gains. athletes achieved under Title IX, a law that prohibits sex discrimination in programs that receive federal funds.

“All I’m trying to do is protect women,” Jenner said Monday.

Jenner, a supporter of former President Donald Trump, was an outspoken opponent of transgender athletes competing in women’s sports. She was born in New York, has long lived in the Los Angeles area and ran unsuccessfully for governor of California in 2021 as a Republican.

Blakeman has argued that the ban is intended to promote fair play and protect girls and women from injury when playing against transgender women. However, his executive order also covers sports such as swimming, gymnastics, figure skating and athletics, where there is no physical contact between competitors.

The executive order also makes decisions about who can play out of the hands of the leagues and gives them to the government.

The Long Island Roller Rebels, a local women’s roller derby league, have asked a New York court to invalidate the county order, saying it violates the state’s anti-discrimination laws.

The New York Civil Liberties Union, which filed the lawsuit on the league’s behalf, called Jenner’s actions “yet another outrageous attempt” to target and villainize transgender women and girls. Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, said Blakeman’s order is “transphobic and discriminatory” and violates state law.

Blakeman has filed his own lawsuit, asking a federal court in New York to confirm that the order was legal.

The order is part of a growing number of anti-transgender sports restrictions being imposed nationwide. About 24 states have passed bills banning trans youth from participating in sports, although some have been blocked by ongoing lawsuits.


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