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Shane Bacon

LPGA could change their 'female at birth' rule this month

Shane Bacon
Devil Ball Golf

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Just over a month ago, a lady named Lana Lawless filed a lawsuit against the LPGA, among others, because of a rule it's had in place for years. Basically, the rule stated that members or people seeking to be members must be females at birth, discouraging any transgender females from attempting to play professional golf at this level.

Lawless, a 57-year-old that underwent "gender reassignment" operations five years ago, tossed a lawsuit at the LPGA, three LPGA sponsors, and the Long Drivers of America.

It seems the lawsuit has opened some eyes at the LPGA, specifically commissioner Mike Whan, because the tour could change their stance on this as soon as Nov. 30.

The vote to pass will need two-thirds of LPGA members to approve, and Whan is on the forefront of recommending this thing pass.

GolfChannel.com talked to Whan, and it seems he's all for a change in the bylaws.

"We’re having our end-of-the-year players meeting, and this will be a topic," Whan said. "We’ll explain the lawsuit, our options, and we’ll discuss my perspective and the LPGA staff’s perspective."

While this is a touchy subject for some, I talked to a few LPGA members back when the lawsuit was brought up, and a lot of the feedback was, "let her play, and see if she's good enough." Some might think allowing a transgender to compete against "female at birth" ladies would give an unfair advantage, but competitive golf is obviously a lot more about getting the ball in the hole, and less about how far you can smack it off the tee, especially if you can't find a fairway.

Lawless' attorney, Christopher Dolan, said the LPGA has 15 days left to respond to the lawsuit, but was up in arms about a vote making or breaking this decision. He went as far as comparing this to an organization disallowing African-Americans to join.

"When they told me they were going to put this up to a vote of their members, I said that’s insane,” Dolan said. "To put whether you want to continue to discriminate to a vote, that’s insane. It would be similar, in another time, to voting on whether you want to let black people into your organization. From my perspective, the law’s perfectly clear."

So, yes, the LPGA could change its stance on this, but obviously a battle continues. Stay tuned to see what transpires from the vote at the LPGA Championship in Orlando.

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