Lana Lawless is a 57-year-old retired police officer who won the women's world championship in long-drive golf in 2008, but she's barred from competing this year. The reason?
Lawless used to be a man. She underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2005.
The Long Drivers of America, who oversees the world championship event, has recently changed its policy to match the Ladies Professional Golf Association. The policy in question states that all competitors must be "female at birth."
Before her surgery, Lana was a S.W.A.T. cop for 18 years working a gang unit in Rialto, California. In 2008, she told Golfweek:
I had a very tough and mean exterior. People didn’t want to mess with me. I had a hard exterior, but I was compassionate inside.
Lana insists she is like any other woman, pointing out that she's lost muscle mass since her surgery, and that she took a drug that stopped her from producing testosterone.
In response to being barred from the long-drive play championship, Lana has filed a lawsuit against both the Long Drivers of America and the LPGA, claiming their rules violate Civil Rights protections in California. She's seeking to prevent the LPGA from holding events in California until the policy is changed, as well as an unspecified amount in damages from the Long Drivers of America and two of its sponsors.
I've got to say, I'm really not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, she does seem to have a strong legal standing. Under California's Unruh Civil Right Act, it clearly states:
All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever.
On the other hand ... well, she used to be a burly-ass 245-pound dude. It's just hard to think that she has no advantages over the other women she's playing against in a sport driven by physical power.
What do you think? Should Lana's transgender status matter to the LPGA?
Image via Facebook