A transgender disc golfer, Natalie Ryan, found herself at the center of a heated dispute when the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) implemented new regulations that affected her participation in the women’s division of the California tour.
Ryan, a transgender woman with a successful track record in the sport, filed a discrimination lawsuit against the PDGA in February, challenging the association’s stringent eligibility requirements that effectively excluded her from competing.
The new rule stipulated that transgender women must have undergone medical transition during Tanner Stage Two or before the age of 12, in addition to maintaining low testosterone levels. This policy, in Ryan’s view, unfairly restricted her and other transgender women from participating in the women’s division.
The legal battle took a turn in Ryan’s favor when a Minnesota judge granted her motion for a temporary injunction against the new eligibility policy implemented by the Disc Golf Pro Tour (DGPT) and PDGA. As a result, Ryan received permission to compete in the Female Professional Open (FPO) division at the upcoming Preserve event in Clearwater, Minnesota.
However, the PDGA was not willing to back down, and their attempt to uphold the ban was met with fierce resistance from Ryan. Taking to social media, she made her stance clear, stating that she would fight the decision every step of the way and that “they are going to burn with me.”
In response to the ongoing legal challenges, the Disc Golf Pro Tour (DGPT) has made adjustments to its competition schedule and media plan for the rest of the 2023 season. These changes were made to protect competitive fairness in the FPO division and to mitigate potential financial liabilities in states where the PDGA’s eligibility policy may face last-minute litigation harmful to the tour’s operations.
The DGPT is committed to upholding the PDGA Gender Eligibility Policy for the FPO division and is working to find alternative locations for the FPO division events that were canceled due to legal challenges. The replacement events will carry the same points value as the original tournaments.
Jeff Spring, DGPT CEO and Tour Director, emphasized the importance of competitive fairness while also showing respect and support for transgender individuals. The DGPT is determined to find long-term solutions to address this complex issue.
Since 2014, Benny A. King has been fully immersed in the world of combat sports. Starting with a blog about Greco Roman wrestling, Benny’s passion for combat sports has led him to explore various disciplines.