NYSBA To Examine Laws Banning and Limiting Participation of Transgender Youth in Sports

By Susan DeSantis

October 7, 2021

NYSBA To Examine Laws Banning and Limiting Participation of Transgender Youth in Sports


By Susan DeSantis

The New York State Bar Association is launching a Task Force on the Treatment of Transgender Youth in Sports to examine the constitutional, scientific, and social justice implications of laws passed around the country that ban or severely limit the participation of transgender athletes in school sports.

Many of these laws – mostly aimed at K-12 students – are now before state, district and U.S. appellate courts. New York, by contrast, has passed new laws protecting transgender athletes while ensuring a level playing field for all competitors. But it is likely that these safeguards, too, will be challenged in the courts.

“Lawmakers in 27 states have proposed banning children and teens who are transgender from participating in school sports programs that are consistent with their gender identity,” said T. Andrew Brown, president of the New York State Bar Association. “These laws are truly traumatic for our transgender youth and, as a nation, we should be able to find a way to protect this vulnerable population.”

The task force’s mission is to provide educational programming and hold mutually respectful discussions on the topic. In its fact-finding role, the panel will host a public forum on the legal and policy issues it’s studying at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 15. The discussion is free to attend, but preregistration is required.

“The task force will also address efforts made to integrate transgender athletes in collegiate, Olympic and elite competition while ensuring fairness,” said Jacqueline J. Drohan, chair of the task force and a partner at Drohan Lee. “After completing our study, we will make recommendations for new laws, policies and lobbying efforts to the association’s governing body, the House of Delegates.”

The task force is still seeking more members but has started its work with a core group. The initial members are:

Sasha Buchert, a senior attorney in the Washington, D.C., offices of Lambda Legal

Dena M. DeFazio, associate at Barclay Damon LLP

Lettie Dickerson, LGBTQ Rights Staff Attorney at Empire Justice Center in Albany

Robert Herbst, founder and principal at REL Advisors and youth sports coach

Kara Neaton, an attorney at New York City Emergency Management

Tara L. Moffett, a partner at Girvin & Ferlazzo

Sonja T. Orgias, attorney at NYC Emergency Management

Jessica D. Parker, a regulatory project manager for Credit Suisse and chair of the NYSBA Committee on Veterans

Milo Primeaux, a solo civil rights practitioner at Law Office of Milo Primeaux

Theresa Rusnak, an associate at Bond, Schoeneck and King

Sruti Swaminathan, a staff attorney at Lambda Legal and co-chair of Legal Services NYC Pro Bono Associate Advisory Board

Christopher Riano, who is chair of NYSBA’s LGBTQ Law Section, a member of the association’s executive committee and president of the Center for Civic Education, will be the task force’s liaison to the executive committee.

About the New York State Bar Association
The New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Since 1876, NYSBA has helped shape the development of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.


Contact: Susan DeSantis
[email protected]

Related Articles

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


My NYSBA Account

My NYSBA Account