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Moment #42: Lana Lawless wins right to play on LPGA Tour

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Part of Outsports’ series on our 100 most important moments in gay sports history.

Golf, 2010. When trans golfer Lana Lawless won the 2009 Long Drivers of America title, it was too much for the organization to handle. They quickly changed their rules stating that female participants must have been born biologically female to compete, matching the LPGA's rule. When Lawless was barred from competing in the event and on the LPGA she brought a lawsuit against both entities in the autumn of 2010.

The lawsuit again brought to national attention the fallacies about perceived "unfair advantages" that male-to-female trans people have. Even the International Olympic Committee and Ladies European Tour have opened their policies to allow trans people how have had gender reassignment surgery and have taken corrective hormones to compete as women.

On Nov. 30, 2010, members of the LPGA voted to remove the "female at birth" requirement for players, opening the LPGA to trans golfers for the first time. What was powerful about this moment was that the players themselves said they would welcome trans golfers; It didn't take a judge to force them to do so.

In May, 2011, Lawless officially dropped her lawsuit against he LPGA and Long Drive contest. The LPGA released a statement praising Lawson:

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (“LPGA”) expresses its appreciation to Lana Lawless for raising the issue of transgender participation in its tournaments and other professional activities. Both Ms. Lawless and the LPGA are pleased that the litigation initiated by Ms. Lawless has been resolved in a satisfactory way, and applaud the LPGA members who voted overwhelmingly to remove the “female at birth” provision from its by-laws.

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