Caitlyn Jenner appeared in Mineola to speak about Bruce Blakeman's executive order on trans girls in girls sports. NewsdayTV's Ken Buffa reports. Credit: Newsday/Howard Schnapp; NewsdayTV

Former Olympian and media personality Caitlyn Jenner said Monday she supports Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman's controversial executive order banning transgender girls and women from competing in women’s sports at county facilities.

Jenner and Blakeman, both Republicans, spoke at a news conference at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola. Blakeman spokesman Chris Boyle said no county funds were used for Jenner's appearance.

Jenner, a 1976 decathlon gold medalist, came out as a transgender woman in 2015 and has been an outspoken opponent of transgender girls participating in girls sports, a position widely criticized by LGBTQ advocates.

Her appearance came about one month after Blakeman signed the order declaring that sports organizations that allow transgender girls to compete on girls teams can't use Nassau County athletic facilities. The order affects more than 100 sites, including basketball courts, swimming pools and ballfields, and resembles Republican-led efforts nationwide to limit transgender athletes' participation in school sports.

Blakeman has said he knows of no cases in which transgender girls were attempting to compete in women's sports at Nassau facilities. Jenner said it's unfair for such competition to occur.

“There’s a simple solution: You have to compete in the biological sex in which you were born,” Jenner said.

David Kilmnick, president of the New York LGBT Network, released a statement on Jenner’s endorsement of the order, saying her support for anti-LGBT initiatives “stands as a baffling contradiction” to her own identity and the struggles she has faced as a transgender woman.

Blakeman's order has sparked widespread criticism and legal action since it was announced Feb. 22.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, issued a cease-and-desist order over it, saying it is in “clear violation” of the state's anti-discrimination laws and must be immediately rescinded. Blakeman responded by filing a federal lawsuit against James. 

Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul criticized the order, saying Nassau Republicans were “resorting to a new divisive culture war attack: bullying trans kids.” 

The New York Civil Liberties Union and Long Island Roller Rebels, an all-female roller derby league, filed a lawsuit against the order on March 11. The lawsuit argues that at least one of the league’s current members — along with one former player — would be prohibited from participating in events at county facilities under the order.

“Today’s press conference was another disgraceful attempt to target and villainize transgender women and girls by sending the message that they are not worthy of the same benefits available to their peers when participating in sports,” said Gabriella Larios, staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union. “Blakeman’s executive order is illegal, transphobic and dangerous. Instead of perpetuating deadly stereotypes and sowing division, Nassau County government should redirect its efforts towards supporting transgender youth, who are disproportionally vulnerable to bullying and violence.”

The league allows transgender women to participate and does not inquire about the sex assigned at birth of its players, according to team officials.

With Candice Ferrette

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