LPGA eliminates 'female at birth' rule

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 8:30 PM ET

Orlando - Transgender golfers will be allowed to compete on the LPGA following a vote by players that eliminated the tour's "female at birth" rule.

The vote came at the LPGA's year-end meeting and will force an amendment of the tour's constitution.

"Steps will be taken in the coming weeks to make the appropriate changes in the language of the constitution," LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement.

The vote was in reaction to a lawsuit filed by a transgender California woman against the LPGA and a governing body for long-drive competitions.

The woman, Lana Lawless, sued both organizations for violation of her civil rights. Her application to join the LPGA's qualifying events had been rejected based on the "female at birth" rule and part of the lawsuit sought to prevent the tour from conducting business in California.

Lawless' lawyer, Chris Dolan, said in a statement that the vote reversing the LPGA's policy represented "a major victory not only for transgender golfers, but for everyone who supports full civil rights for all individuals."

Dolan hoped the LPGA would implement rules similar to those of the International Olympic Committee, clearing transgender players to participate.

"If they do so ... a major goal of this lawsuit will have been accomplished and it will pave the way for Ms. Lawless and the LPGA to discuss resolution of the lawsuit," Dolan said.

"Hopefully, it will also cause the other defendant, the Long Driver's Association, to change their discriminatory policies. If they do not, then we will proceed full speed ahead against them, until Ms. Lawless' civil rights are fully restored."

Lawless was the Long Drivers Association of America 2008 world champion.


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