Hailey Davidson, a transgender golfer aiming for her LPGA card, got a lot of attention over the weekend as (mostly) anti-trans voices got wind that she was competing for the right to compete at the next level of female golf.
Despite the claims of unfairness that seem to follow every trans woman in female sports, not only did Davidson fail to make the cut to Stage II of the qualification, but she was also beaten by over 100 cisgender women who did make said cut.
According to Golf Week, Davidson shot a +3 over three rounds at the Stage I qualifier at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. The cut was -2. Also according to Golf Week, 106 female golfers shot -2 or better, each of them at least 5 strokes better than Davidson.
Without naming them or linking to them, over the weekend some people were in hysterics that a trans woman might make the cut. Mind you, making this cut doesn’t give anyone an LPGA card — It simply advanced them to the next stage of contention.
Instead, Davidson did earn Epson Tour status, which is given to anyone who can shoot under 88 each of the three rounds of this event. Davidson’s final scorecard: 70-76-73. The Epson Tour is kind of like the “Minor League” of baseball, or the “G League” in basketball — an opportunity for people to show they belong at the next level.
Yet again, to be clear, this “unfair” trans golfer did prove that yet, in at least her second swing at it.
On her Instagram story, Davidson reported “threats and hate” over the weekened. We assume that’s from the vitriol stirred by some people in the media over her attempt to earn her LPGA card.
What none of the screamers realize is that it was members of the LPGA themselves who in 2010 voted to remove the “female at birth” requirement to compete. Yes, the women in golf voted to open the sport to trans women.
So while people are yelling about trans athletes taking spots away from other women, it was the cisgender women themselves who voted to allow trans athletes in the LPGA.
To be sure, questions about qualification requirements for trans women in the female sports category are absolutely warranted. Just because a few words are removed doesn’t mean trans women can compete with no medical transition. I’ve spoken to trans golf legend Mianne Bagger about this many times, and she has stressed the importance of science- and thought-based transition requirements for trans women in the female sports category.
And while some LGBT advocates push for the elimination of all medical transition requirements, the vast majority of people — including trans people — identify the need for mandated medical transition. There must be thoughtful transition requirements for all trans women in female professional sports.
Still, we’ve seen no evidence that Davidson is a threat to female golf, that she hasn’t effectively mitigated her advantage from male puberty, or that she doesn’t belong in this race for an LPGA card.