LPGA votes to banish "female at birth" clause

December 01, 2010

In an historic move, the LPGA Tour players in attendance at this week's season-ending Tour Championship in Orlando met Tuesday night and decided to do away with the membership clause that excludes transgender players from competition.

Commissioner Mike Whan released the following statement after the meeting: "The LPGA discussed the transgender topic today with our player membership at our year-end meeting. The players voted in favor of amending the LPGA Constitution, eliminating the requirement that competitors must be 'female at birth'. Steps will be taken in the coming weeks to make the appropriate changes in the language of the Constitution."

The vote comes as no surprise to anyone who's been following the legal saga initiated by 57-year-old transgender long-drive champion Lana Lawless, who sued the LPGA and some of its sponsors in federal court last October, claiming the "female at birth" clause violated California civil rights law. The LPGA is the last major sports organization to change its constitution to grant inclusion to athletes who have undergone gender-reassignment surgery; the USGA, Ladies European Tour, NCAA and IOC have already done so, and Danish transgender player Mianne Bagger has been competing in LET events since 2004.

--Stina Sternberg