Transgender female Robert Lancaster continues pursuit of LPGA

Robert Lancaster is seen in a screen grab from his latest appearance with USA Today.

Robert Lancaster is seen in a screen grab from his latest appearance with USA Today.

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:56 PM ET

Until recently, Hamilton, Ont., native Robert Lancaster was ineligible to compete on the LPGA.

For one, he was a man.

And, the LPGA only admitted those who were female at birth.

In 2010, all that changed. Lancaster, a quality amateur golfer, underwent gender-reassignment surgery and the LPGA voted to allow transgendered women to compete on the tour after Lana Lawless pushed for new rules that same year.

Since then, the 63-year-old has been competing against women much younger than her.

Although she qualifies for the female Legends Tour – for women aged 45 and older – Lancaster has decided to attempt to qualify for the LPGA out of fairness.

As a male, she was exposed to testosterone for so long she’d likely have an advantage over older women.

"I am not looking for sympathy here," Lancaster recently told USA Today. "It’s my choice. It's where I feel my game is most on an even playing field."

During the summer, she failed to place high enough at an LPGA qualifying event. She did, however, do well enough to join the association’s developmental tour.

"I underperformed all year," Lancaster said. "It was a result of some orthopedic issues. But mainly it was because of a lack of self-belief and mental toughness.”

It hasn't deterred her, even though she has her detractors.

For years, fellow athletes and organizations have been speaking out against allowing transgendered women to compete professionally.

All of that came to a head in 2009 when South African female sprinter Caster Semenya won the 800-metre world championship.

Semenya, who has no womb or ovaries, also had testosterone levels three times that of a typical female during the race.

It forced both the International Olympic Committee, the LPGA and others to devise standards by which transgendered women can compete based on testosterone and estrogen levels.

Lancaster, who is also a physician, plans to continue competing locally this year in her quest to potentially make the LPGA in the future.

She says the fact her story has motivated others is what continues to push her to compete, no matter how controversial it may be.


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