Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Transgender Woman Sues LPGA Over Right to Golf Professionally

The New York Times reported yesterday that a transgender woman has filed a federal lawsuit against the Ladies Professional Golf Association ("L.P.G.A."), alleging that the LPGA's requirement that competitors be “female at birth” violates California civil rights law (California is one of 14 states, including the District of Columbia, that has laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity). According to the Times article, Lana Lawless, a 57-year-old retired police officer who had gender-reassignment surgery in 2005, made her name as an athlete in 2008 after winning the women’s world championship in long-drive golf. But this year, Lawless was ruled ineligible in the same championship because Long Drivers of America, which oversees the competition, changed its rules to match the policy of the L.P.G.A. Lawless wrote a letter in May asking for permission to apply for L.P.G.A. qualifying tournaments and was told by a tour lawyer that she would be turned down. Lawless has also named as defendants in her law suit Long Drivers of America, two of its corporate sponsors — Dick’s Sporting Goods and Re/Max — and CVS, the sponsor of the L.P.G.A. Challenge. According to the article, Lawless has claimed that she has no competitive edge over other female golfers - she asserts that the reassignment surgery she underwent removed her testes, and her hormones and muscle strength are in line with someone who is genetically female. See for the full article.