New York State Bar Association Opposes Banning Transgender Youth From School Sports

By Rebecca Melnitsky

June 8, 2024

New York State Bar Association Opposes Banning Transgender Youth From School Sports


By Rebecca Melnitsky

The New York State Bar Association has voted to oppose all attempts to ban transgender athletes from K-12 school sports.

Half of the states in the country have laws or regulations that ban transgender students from playing sports based on their gender identity. In Nassau County, for instance, the county executive, Bruce Blakeman, earlier this year announced an executive order banning transgender athletes from competing in women and girls sports at Nassau County facilities. The order was struck down by the New York State Supreme Court in May on the grounds that the county executive did not have the authority to institute a ban.

“All student athletes deserve a chance to play sports with their peers,” said Domenick Napoletano, president of the New York State Bar Association. “Legislation enacted to prevent transgender youth from participating in sports is based in fear instead of fact. The New York State Bar Association stands against attempts to isolate and bully youth. Let the kids play.”

The report of the Task Force on the Treatment of Transgender Youth in Sports described the legislation as “a solution in search of a problem.” About 1.4% of children ages 13-17 are transgender, and the number of transgender students participating in sports is a fraction of that number.

“Many of the politicians pushing these laws could not name a single transgender student-athlete in their state,” said Jacqueline Drohan, co-chair of the Task Force. “This shows that the imagined issues with transgender youth participating in sports do not exist in reality. Exclusion is as discriminatory as it is unsportsmanlike. All students have an equal right to experience the emotional, physical, and social benefits of playing sports.”

Furthermore, there is no evidence that transgender girls and women have an athletic advantage in sports.

“The New York State Public High School Athletic Association, the governing body for high school interscholastic sports, has had an inclusive policy for transgender students since 2015,” said M. Lettie Dickerson, co-chair of the task force. “In that time, we have not seen the breakdown of boys and girls sports, and transgender athletes are a tiny percentage of athletes. We thank all our task force members for their hard work, and we thank the New York State Bar Association for standing against excluding transgender youth.”

“We didn’t focus on college or professional sports,” Drohan added. “That wasn’t part of our mission.”

New York State Bar Association Past President T. Andrew Brown convened the task force.

Related Articles

Six diverse people sitting holding signs
gradient circle (purple) gradient circle (green)


My NYSBA Account

My NYSBA Account