Anti-Trans Vote By District 2 Ed Board Draws Fierce Protest

The measure asks the city’s DOE to “review” whether transgender women should be allowed to play in sports that match their gender. Sponsored by an associate of the far-right activist group Moms for Liberty, it passed by a vote of 8-3. The majority of the public hearing’s speakers–and many Manhattan politicians–slammed the resolution.

| 26 Mar 2024 | 10:22

Manhattan’s Community Education Council District 2, the borough’s largest school board, has passed an 8-3 resolution asking the city’s Department of Education to “review” whether transgender women should be allowed to participate in gender-affirming school sports. The March 20 event sparked outcry from NYC’s LBTQIA+ community and their supporters, who called the measure discriminatory and bigoted.

Resolution #248 was sponsored by Maud Maron, an associate of the far-right activist group Moms for Liberty. She claimed that the resolution would open the door to “good solutions” and platform “different ideas.”

There is no scientific evidence supporting the position that allowing transgender women to participate in sports that match their gender creates competitive disparities, according to a study highlighted by Reuters. Some school board members proceeded anyway.

Len Silverman, who spoke and voted in favor of the resolution, claimed that “evolving definitions of gender” had “real-world consequences” for cisgender women. He cited the right-wing gadfly (and transgender woman) Caitlyn Jenner, who has made similar statements.

Other speakers with children in District 2 slammed the resolution. “Whatever this resolution’s intention is, its primary impact would be to marginalize, frighten, and discriminate against a group of students who need our affirmation and support,” Jared Danker said.

The advisory vote by the school board appears unlikely to gain any traction with the Department of Education. DOE Commissioner David Banks called the resolution “despicable” and “hateful.”

West Side State Senator Brad-Hoylman Sigal, who is gay, virtually attended the meeting. He appeared visibly disturbed. Erik Bottcher, who is also gay and represents neighborhoods such as Hell’s Kitchen in the New York City Council, noted that discriminating against transgender students is “illegal” and violates state human rights laws.

The two later released a statement on the resolution alongside two other LBTQIA+ members from the borough, NYS Assembly Member Deborah Glick and NYS Assembly Member Tony Simone.

“It is utterly shocking that such a regressive and harmful resolution is being proposed in a school district that covers much of Manhattan, including the neighborhoods of Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea and Greenwich Village, the birthplace of the modern LGBTQ civil rights movement, and neighborhoods that are home to the largest LGBTQ communities in the United States,” the statement read.

”Resolution #248 is based on the false premise that the gender identity policy negatively impacts female athletes, and stems from the misguided notion that the inclusion of transgender students in sports diminishes the experience of other student athletes,” they added.

City Council Member Julie Menin, who represents the UES district that contains part of the school board, also came out forcefully against the resolution. She shared a statement by the Council’s LBTQIA+ caucus to that effect: “It’s outrageous that the proponents of this resolution would frame it as an attempt as a defense of women’s rights. We will not rest until the dignity of all students is fully honored and protected.”

The resolution could plausibly be viewed as piggybacking off of other transphobic participation bans, such as one recently issued by Nassau County executive Bruce Blakeman, a Republican. That action was met with the threat of legal action by NYS Attorney General Letitia James, who blasted it as “discriminatory.”

Governor Kathy Hochul echoed James’s criticism, calling Blakeman’s order a “divisive culture war attack” that amounted to “bullying trans kids.”