California transgender disc golfer vows to fight after being banned from women’s tournament

Transgender disc golfer Natalie Ryan, who admits to having mental health struggles almost her entire life, was recently banned from the California women’s division during a tour after a last-minute ruling that the transgender is vowing to fight.

Ryan filed a discrimination lawsuit in February protesting the Professional Disc Golf Association, the sport’s governing body, which tightened its rules resulting in the transgender being excluded from women’s competition, according to the Daily Mail.

The new rule mandates that transgenders must have had a medical transition during Tanner Stage Two or before turning 12. They also have to have a total testosterone level in serum below 2.0 nmol/L.

Ryan has won two events during her career on the tour. On Thursday she was determined to be ineligible to play in a ruling that overturned one by US District Judge Troy L. Nunley, who had issued a restraining order allowing her to compete.

(Video Credit: Disc Golf Pro Tour)

“It appears there was an intentional act, the creation of a policy, that excludes individuals based on their protected status as transgender women,” Nunley wrote in his decision.

“The Court makes no determinations as to whether this is sufficient to actually establish intentional discrimination, but it raises serious questions,” he stated, according to OutSports.

The judge remarked that the transition requirement in the criteria was unfair to the player. Ryan, therefore, went on to compete in the first round and finished in fifth place in the clubhouse at the OTB Open. The tour filed an appeal in the Ninth Court of Appeals on Friday and won which resulted in Ryan being booted from the tour.

“It appears that the district court lacks diversity jurisdiction over the [Disc Golf Pro] Tour because Plaintiff and at least one member of the Tour are citizens of Virginia,” the appeals court ruled.

According to the Disc Golf Pro Tour, the ruling will now allow them to clarify eligibility protocols. They run the OTB Open.

“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 disallow Ms. Ryan from continuing competition in the OTB Open,” the Disc Golf Pro Tour said in a statement.

In an Instagram post, Ryan made an ardent plea for the inclusion of transgenders in frisbee golf following the appeal to the court and her subsequent removal. Prizes at the tournament are as high as $35,000.

On Sunday, Ryan vowed to keep fighting the ruling.

“The DGPT and PDGA are afraid of metaphor, so I’ve taken down my previous post. Instead I’m going to make that posts message incredibly clear. My removal from OTB was targeted just as the new policy was,” Ryan’s message read on Instagram. “The DGPT is now forcing rules it has no place to. They have only done this to hurt me. I will continue to litigate until justice is achieved. I will use this pain to make sure nobody else has to experience it.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Natalie Ryan (@natalieryan114560)

“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 asserted in another post. “To all the trans folks out there that love this sport as much as I do, I’m here for you, we all deserve better.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Natalie Ryan (@natalieryan114560)

Those advocating for trans athletes in women’s sports contend that fairness can be maintained on a competitive level. Opponents argue that the physical advantage that they have over biological females cannot be undone because it is inherent to biological gender.

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