Lana Lawless, a transgender female golfer is suing the LPGA over its requirement that all competitors be “female at birth.”
In the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Lana Lawless claims the policy violates California civil rights laws.
Lana Lawless is a 57-year-old former male police officer who had gender reassignment surgery in 2005.
In 2008, she discovered she had a knack for hitting the driver when she won the women’s long-drive world championship. She hit a 254-yard drive into a headwind. First place in the competition earned Lawless $12,500.
She was unable to compete in this years event to defend her title because the Long Drivers of America has changed its policy to conform to that of the LPGA meaning, since she isn’t a “female at birth,” she is no longer eligible to compete.
According to court documents, Lawless won the Long Drive Association’s women’s long drive championship in 2008, when the organization had no set rule on transgendered athletes. But a change in policy to mirror the LGPA’s “female at birth” requirement both disqualified her from future competition, the lawsuit charges, and made her ineligible to reap the benefits from her 2008 win.
“I’m the only professional transgender woman golfer in the United States. I’m the champion. They changed the rule,” she said. “How can you say it’s not directed at me?”
“It’s an issue of access and opportunity,”Lana Lawless told The New York Times on Tuesday. “I’ve been shut out because of prejudice.”
She is seeking to prevent the LPGA from holding events in California until the policy is reviewed, as well as an unspecified amount in damages from Long Drivers of America and two of its title sponsors.
“I’m not physically as strong as I used to be,” Lawless said. “I’m well under the top end of testosterone levels for genetically-born females.”
“How I feel is, ‘Here we go again,'” said Lawless, who says she has lost a commercial golf sponsor because she has been prevented from competing.
Although several sports organizations have changed their rules, the LPGA’s remain the same.
Lawless has had a life-long passion for golf and maintained a plus-one handicap.
Lawless cited the International Olympic Committee, which altered its policy on transgender athletes in 2004.
The IOC allows transgender competitors providing gender reassignment surgery has been conducted along with two years of hormone-replacement therapy.
“I am, in all respects, legally, and physically female. The state of California recognizes me as such and the LPGA should not be permitted to come into California and blatantly violate my rights. I just want to have the same opportunity to play professional golf as any other woman.”
What do you think? Does Lawless have a point?
Personally, I think this is a publicity stunt and an attempt to earn a quick buck off the LDA and their sponsors.
My biggest question is why she waited so long to make a go at professional golf? Lawless had at least a good 30 years to make a go at it on the PGA Tour, if you’re that passionate about it and you’ve got the skill, why wait until you’re legally a female and go at the LPGA? You can still play professional golf on the PGA Tour, there’s no gender restrictions there..
Now, I’m no scientist, and yes, now her testosterone levels are that of a female, but she’s had over 50 years of the male dosage of testosterone, there has to be some long term or residual affects that still linger even after the gender switch, which one could surmise gives her an unfair advantage over the rest of the field, no?