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Long Island Roller Rebels face uncertainty in fight to overturn Nassau County's transgender athlete ban

Long Island roller derby league faces uncertainty with trans athlete ban
Long Island roller derby league faces uncertainty with trans athlete ban 02:57

SEAFORD, N.Y. -- The Roller Rebels, a Long Island roller derby league, is at the center of a lawsuit that claims Nassau County's transgender athlete ban violates New York's anti-discrimination laws. 

CBS New York was given exclusive access to a practice at United Skates of America in Seaford. 

"We all, I think, really feel like this brings so much more fulfillment to our lives," said Amanda Urena. 

Urena, who goes by "Curly Fry," has been a blocker on the team for two years, but has been in the sport for about seven. 

"When I started, I was actually in my 20s and I had a really tough time. Derby, like, it saved my life," said Urena. "I'm in the 30s now and that was something that I didn't necessarily see happening." 

Cat Carroll, whose derby name is "Catastrophic Danger" has been playing for nine years. 

"It's exceptionally important to me," said Carroll. "The confidence that this sport especially gave me, I wish I could have given to my 13-year-old self." 

The Roller Rebels have been practicing in Seaford since 2005, when the league first started. 

United Skates is a private facility where the team will continue to practice weekly. But going forward, there may be a block on where they can compete and hold events. 

"We brought this lawsuit on behalf of the Long Island Roller Rebels because we believe that this executive order is illegal and in clear violation of New York State's anti-discrimination laws," said Gabriella Larios, and attorney with the New York Civil Liberties Union. 

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman announced an executive order in February banning transgender women and girls from participating in women's and girl's sports leagues at county facilities. Blakeman said it presents and unfair physical disadvantage. 

"There is this message that trans people are not welcome in Nassau County parks facilities," said Larios. 

The Roller Rebels, an all-inclusive league, has at least one transgender player on the team.

"We immediately tried to take action and make sure that person felt comforted," said Urena. 

The players have jobs and families of their own, but they say every time they lace up their skates their bond gets stronger. 

They said it's still unclear if they'll have to pivot to other places for upcoming games. Excluding a team member is not an option. 

"I just want to skate with people. We will not grow as a league if we're limiting who we can bring on," said Urena.

"The world can be really scary. You should feel safe in sports," said Carroll. 

The Roller Rebels' first game of the season is April 27. The lawsuit is now before a judge. 

The ban does not apply to men's teams with transgender athletes.

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