No sport is completely free of controversy. Some involve sex scandals, while others involve domestic violence or even murder. Sometimes a controversy involves a situation that may or may not directly affect the sport itself. Probably the best example is a baseball player using steroids and hitting way too many home runs in one season.
While the golf world is no stranger to controversy that involves its players and their private lives – especially this year…, very rarely do you hear of one that may affect the game itself. Gorilla Golf wants to talk about an unusual golf controversy: a transgendered golfer and her (now) battle with the LPGA.
Lana Lawless, formerly a man, is suing the Ladies Professional Golf Association for not allowing her to play in LPGA sanctioned tournaments. Lawless, 57, was at birth, a man. LPGA regulations require all members to be “female at birth”.
The LPGA contends that allowing transgendered golfers into their association would lend an unfair physical advantage over other players. While, aesthetically these players are clearly female, their innate muscle tone, strength and endurance is normally superior to that of a woman.
Miss Lawless, of California, contends that this exclusion from LPGA events is in violation of the state’s civil rights laws. She is suing for damages and applying for an injunction against the ruling which prevents the LPGA from holding tournaments in her state while transgendered golfers continue to be excluded.
Many of you may be familiar with Long Drivers of America. Lawless was banned from this year’s competition, as the tournament committee aligned its rules with those of the LPGA. Lawless won the competition in 2008. Gorilla Golf is simply trying to shed some light on the topic of transgendered golf. It does provide food for thought that a player that was born a man and is now a “women” dominates such events as the Long Drivers of America competition.
Should Lawless try her hand at men’s tournaments and competitions? Do you believe, she is at her core, a man? We’d like to know what you think.
While this is the first lawsuit brought against the LPGA, this is not the first time the organization has banned a player from their competitions.
Mianne Bagger, a Danish golfer, became the first transgender women to play in a professional golf tournament in 2004. These tournaments are, however, Australian and European sanctioned events, and not those of the LPGA. Yet another question: Do you think the LPGA is setting a fair precedent?
We all know how strict the International Olympic Committee can be where any subject of athletics is concerned. Their official stance on the subject of transgender athletes is that a player must have had a complete sex-change and two full years of hormone-replacement therapy before they are allowed to compete in a new gender category. More food for thought…Should the LPGA follow suit and align their policies with the International Olympic Committee, or should they maintain their stance that this is simply an unfair advantage to women on the LPGA tour who were actually born women?
Ms. Lawless was quoted as saying
“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.”
An LPGA spokesperson responded by stating that, “We have no comment because we haven’t seen the lawsuit.” A spokesperson for Long Drivers of America also had no comment.
This a controversial topic for the world of golf. We know this will raise many questions, and many of you will have strong opinions and comments regarding this subject. We will surely keep our readers updated on the topic of transgender golf and final rulings as they unfold.