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LPGA votes to allow transgender players

Thu 2 Dec 2010 In: International News View at Wayback

Lana Lawless The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) has changed its rules to allow transgender women to compete after a player took legal action because she was denied entry to a tournament. Former police officer Lana Lawless underwent sexual reassignment surgery in 2005. She won the ReMax Long Drivers Association's (LDA) World Long Drive Championship in 2008, but when she sought to participate in an LPGA tournament in California she was rejected by senior officials because she was not born female. Lawless took action under the California UNRUH act which prevents discrimination on the basis of, among other things, race, sex, sexual orientation, and transgender status. LPGA players have now voted to allow transgender players to compete, removing the "female at birth" requirement from the tour's constitution. Commissioner Michael Whan says steps will be taken in the coming weeks to make the change. Lawless' lawyer Christopher Dolan says that while he and his client are pleased that the LPGA has brought its behaviour in line with well established California Law, it is shocking that they had to hold a vote as to whether or not they would violate the law. Dolan confirmed the legal action will still go ahead. "Changing the unlawful rule was a part of the lawsuit and we are pleased that this has been accomplished. However, it does not change the fact that the LPGA discriminated against Ms Lawless by knowingly denying her the right to participate based on her transgendered status. The fact that they later altered their unlawful practice does not provide a get out of jail free card for their prior unlawful conduct." Lawless says she should not have had to bring a lawsuit to be treated fairly under the law. "I am a female, the law recognizes me as female, my birth certificate now says that I am female, I am anatomically female, and I have lower testosterone levels than most women. I am not 'femaleish,' "Transgender people are entitled to be treated equally, and the prejudices against them and myself are unfounded. People say that I will have an advantage because I was once male. That is simply false. I have been beaten by other women before and most likely I will be beaten again. I just want to compete with the other girls. These rules need to change so that other trans people coming up behind me can be treated equally and fairly."    

Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 2nd December 2010 - 1:46pm

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