Transgender disc golfer is banned from women’s division, prevented from vying for $35,000 prize

A transgender disc golfer has been prohibited from participating in the women’s division of the California tour due to a last-minute court ruling.

In February, Natalie Ryan, a transgender woman who has achieved success in the sport, filed a discrimination lawsuit against the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA), the governing body of the sport. Ryan contested the association’s tightened regulations, which effectively excluded her from competing.

The new rule mandates that transgender women must have undergone medical transition during Tanner Stage Two or before the age of 12, along with maintaining low testosterone levels.

Initially, on Thursday, Ryan was deemed eligible to play after US District Judge Troy L. Nunley issued a restraining order. Judge Nunley expressed concern in his decision, stating, “It appears there was an intentional act, the creation of a policy, that excludes individuals based on their protected status as transgender women.”

Ryan, despite the temporary eligibility, participated in the first round of the OTB Open tournament and finished in fifth place in the clubhouse.

However, the PDGA filed an appeal in the Ninth Court of Appeals and emerged victorious on Friday, resulting in Ryan’s removal from the tour as per Dailymail.

The appeals court based its decision on the lack of diversity jurisdiction over the Disc Golf Pro Tour (DGPT), considering Ryan and at least one member of the tour as citizens of Virginia.

The DGPT, which organizes the OTB Open, declared that the court ruling enables them to maintain clarity regarding eligibility protocols. They stated, “This order restores the DGPT’s ability to enforce its current policy on Gender Eligibility. The DGPT will follow the court’s ruling and enforce its Gender Eligibility Policy, which will disqualify Ms. Ryan from further competition in the OTB Open.”

Following her removal from the tournament, Ryan expressed her dedication to promoting transgender inclusion in frisbee golf through an impassioned Instagram post. She wrote, “I will not be threatened, I will not be intimidated, I will not be erased. It is a breath of fresh air to be competing where I belong.” Ryan’s plea resonated with fellow trans individuals who share her love for the sport.

The issue of transgender athletes competing against biological females has gained significant attention due to notable performances across various sports. In cycling, former champion rider Hannah Arensman retired from the sport after being surpassed by a transgender competitor during a podium finish.

Similar controversies arose with Tiffany Thomas, a trans cyclist, who generated debate by winning a female race in New York City. Additionally, Cece Telfer, Laurel Hubbard, and Lia Thomas have made headlines as transgender athletes succeeding in their respective fields.

Advocates of including transgender athletes in female sports argue that fairness can be maintained at a competitive level. On the other hand, opponents contend that biological males have inherent physical advantages that cannot be neutralized.