Transgender disc golf touring pro Natalie Ryan has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. The suit against the PDGA, the Pro Disc Golf Tour, and tourney organizing firm 1000 Rated Productions contends the new PDGA policy violates her civil rights under California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act.
“The DGPT’s decision was based on prejudice, the results of a deeply flawed survey of a small portion of the PDGA membership, and a report from the PDGA medical committee that would receive a failing grade if turned in by an undergraduate at a reputable university,” Ryan’s attorney Brian Sciacca argued in a written statement. “Our attempts to get the DGPT to reconsider its decision based on legitimate research were summarily dismissed, leaving us with no choice but to pursue legal remedies.”
At the core of the dispute is the new PDGA regulations that would allow a transgender woman to play in the top professional women’s division if one of the three following criteria are met:
- Hormone replacement therapy continuously for at least 24 months prior to competition with a blood serum testosterone level less that 2 nanomoles/liter in that period. Any suspension of treatment with disallow the competitor with the time resetting when treatment restarts.
- Gender-affirming surgery along with documentation showing a blood serum testosterone level less that 2 nanomoles/liter for 24 month prior to competition
- Starting medical transition such as puberty blockers prior to age 12 or before Tanner Stage 2 whichever come last.
Due to the regulations Ryan, who had two elite-level tournament wins in 2022, would not be allowed to play in the tour’s Female Professional Open division this year.
According to Sciacca, the PDGA said that Ryan could compete in the Mixed Professional Open division in 2023. The MPO is open to any competitor of any gender, but the vast majority of the competitors in the division are men.
Ryan declined participation in the MPO, and she had some choice snark expressed via Instagram after filing suit.
“Today the Cis Golf Pro Tour begins and to celebrate I got them a gift, my court case has officially been filed,” she exclaimed. “I refuse to let a few ignorant people remove my joy for this game without a fight. My rights are mine and I will be damned if I’m going to roll over and let them take them!”
Representatives from the PDGA, Pro Disc Golf Tour and 1000 Rated Production all declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Ryan will continue to play in select tournaments, however. She is registered to play in certain events known as “A-tier” events, which are a level below the elite and majors tournament, in the FPO division. By regulation, tournaments below the elite level have different rules regarding transgender participation.