LPGA Preparing To Allow Transgendered Players

In response to a lawsuit brought in California against the “female-at-birth” rule by transwoman golfer Lana Lawless, the LPGA is preparing to conduct a member vote at its Tour Championship to allow transgendered women to compete on tour.  A two thirds vote is necessary.  However, it is questionable whether a vote  against allowing transwomen to compete would stop the organization from overturning the ruling.  Preventing Lawless from competing could very well open up the LPGA to violating California civil rights statutes.  Whether LPGA players like the rule or not, or vote to let Ms. Lawless play, it seems it would take some brilliant legal maneuvering to prevent Lawless or other transwomen from playing.

Since this is my blog, I will add my opinion.  I have no problems whatsover with post-op transwomen playing on the LPGA tour. I’m using the term post-op transwoman as that is a short hand vernacular describing post-operative transsexual women, which is what Miss Lawless is. Transgender is an umbrella term which can include transvestites, crossdressers and others that I would not agree with competing.

In the United States, SRS (sex reassignment surgery) will not be approved without significant hormone replacement therapy in addition to other criteria set forth in the Standards of Care for Gender Identity Disorder (formerly Gender Indentity Dysphoria). Furthermore, the International Olympic Committee, in addition to requiring SRS to have been completed require two years of HRT before they will allow a transwoman to compete as a female. Although HRT does not completely change birth physiology, it can minimize muscle mass and redistribute fat in the body.

Transwoman Golfer Mianne Bagger of Denmark

Hormone therapy, which must be continued by transwomen for life due to some of the changes produced being reversible, is the key here. When transwoman Renee Richards was barred by the United States Tennis Association from playing the US Open in the mid-seventies, they demanded she undergo chromosomal testing. She sued the USTA in New York State Court and won the right to play the next year without testing.

I understand the concerns about unfair advantages. However, keep in mind the age of Miss Lawless and the fact that a transwoman like Renee Richards did not dominate the main draw of the women’s tennis tour after transitioning. Yes, she did win a 35 and over seniors type draw, but she never won a WTA main draw event. In the 5 US Opens she played after transitioning, she lost in the first round three times, the second round another and the third round another. Granted, she was in her forties at the time but I guarantee you a forty year old retired male ATP player could get by the first round more than twice if you gave him five shots at it. Don’t be fooled by Bobby Riggs losing to Billie Jean King. Remember that Bobby was 55, a tennis hustler in terrible playing shape and had already beaten women’s #1 Margaret Court before meeting Billie Jean. This is not to say what Billie Jean did wasn’t monumental for women’s sports. It sure as heckfire was. My point is that today a 40 year old Jim Courier could make it out of the first round of the US Open women’s main draw more than twice in five tries. Renee Richards after SRS and HRT could not. She did reach #20 in the world, but she was not rolling through the women’s field and again, never won a main draw singles event after transitioning.

A long drive contest is a different animal. Who was Miss Lawless competing against? While she might be long off the tee, I’m willing to bet she’s not as long as she once was (hmmmm…no jokes, please!). I doubt she could ever dominate on the LPGA tour as a player.


7 thoughts on “LPGA Preparing To Allow Transgendered Players

  1. Thanks for posting the video…I hadn’t seen Lawless before except in still photos.

    What stupid comments by Angela Stanford. Figures. Just because their are by-laws in place, it makes them legal? Sheesh.

    Additionally, it’s not only about joining the LPGA Tour to compete against women in LPGA Tourneys. Under the current “born female” clause, Lawless cannot even be a member of the LPGA Teaching Pro division.

    Regarding the Long Drive competitions, which is really what all this is about…she, herself, admitted there was another woman who was longer than her and who probably would have won the last event had there not been a really strong headwind that day.

    I’d bet the LPGA is going to fall in line with the other sports organizations and remove their “born female” clause. It’ll be interesting to know what the vote is.

    • You’re welcome! I think players are reacting out of fear that suddenly there be an influx of players with a perceived competitive advantage. But that has not happened on the LET or WTA. I wonder if Angela or anybody else on tour personally knows any transwomen. It’s not just a case of a guy putting on a dress, snipping some bits and there you have it. If Mianne Bagger had a challenge match with Jiyai Shin tomorrow, my money is on Shin. As far as distance advantages, that already exists but I’d take Shin over Michelle Wie too, no matter how far Michelle can hit past Shin.
      But I agree with you. Ms. Lawless has no illusion of being an LPGA star. She just wants the right, as a woman legally, to make a living.

      • Disagree. The “female-at-birth” rule is only one of many that the LPGA has. Let us say Lawless can change that rule, what if she still does not qualify to play under the other rules? Will an exception be made? That is the problem with this world and specifically the USA. We make an exception for one person. That is why we are a third world country, why we are heavily in debt and why a nation “under God” is Godless.

        Lawless has her 15 minutes of fame just like the woman had with Augusta National.

  2. The problem with this rule is that it violates California’s (and other states’) civil rights law. Transwomen are legally women. It’s not a case of Ms. Lawless picking and choosing one rule after another to gain entry. She finished 2nd and 1st in long drive competitions in 2007 and 2008. Because of those wins, she was signed to sponsorships. Then the Long Drive competition changed its rules to adopt the LPGA rule. That was singling one person out as well. Because of this change, Ms. Lawless lost the sponsorships. When she speaks of the rule, which again violates civil rights statutes no matter how long the LPGA has had it or how short a time Long Drivers of America has had it, depriving her of a legal right as a woman to make a living at golf she is not talking about being a champion on the LPGA tour.

    This rule is already applied internationally by the IOC, the LET, and here in the States by the USGA. There are already transwomen athletes competing all over the world. It’s not a big deal. It hasn’t changed anything.

  3. Let us see, there are ladies’ tees and men’s tees on the golf course. Does that mean there is a difference?

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