LPGA Member Vote Likely To Admit Transgenders

Randall Mell of the Golf Channel reports that in “direct response” to a month-old federal lawsuit filed by 57-year-old Lana Lawless, who was born a man, the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) is likely to “allow” for the removal of its requirement that players be “female at birth.”

Lana Lawless

(Transgender Lana Lawless: “born a female” LPGA law violates “civil rights”)

In a lawsuit filed on Oct. 12 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Lawless claimed “her civil rights were violated” when the LPGA rejected her application for membership.

LPGA rules stipulate that such a foundational change in the governing body’s constitution would require a 2/3 majority vote by the organization’s members. That vote is reportedly expected to take place after the LPGA executive committee informs players in a meeting on Nov. 30 that fighting the lawsuit would be futile.

Christopher Dolan, the attorney for Lawless, said of such a vote, “It would be similar, in another time, to voting on whether you want to let black people into your organization.

More from The Golf Channel’s Mell:

In a special “one-agenda item” meeting at the Hana Bank Championship in South Korea at the end of October, LPGA players were briefed on the upcoming vote and the vital nature of it.

According to sources familiar with the meeting, LPGA players were told the “female at birth” provision was created “in a different time” and would be a significant challenge to defend legally today.

Players were also informed that the International Olympic Committee, the U.S. Golf Association, the Ladies European Tour and the British Ladies Golf Union are among sports organizations that have already amended their bylaws to allow transgender participation.

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan and the LPGA’s executive committee are expected to recommend the change to the association’s bylaws.

In a post Thursday, the highest-profile female golf blogger on the web, Stephanie Wei, said of the LPGA’s decision to drop the “female at birth” requirement:

“I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. Maybe both? I’m speechless.”

A vote to settle the issue is likely to take place at the players meeting on Nov. 30.