The Disc Golf Pro Tour took center stage over the weekend after Natalie Ryan, a transgender competitor, saw her chances of winning a California tournament wiped out due to an appeal of a court ruling.
The Professional Disc Golf Association tightened its rules on transgender participation in December, which would have kept Ryan out of the women’s division. She filed a discrimination lawsuit in February, saying the tour’s decision was based on «bias,» according to OutSports.
On Thursday, US District Judge Troy L. Nunley granted Ryan a temporary restraining order to allow him to play.
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«It appears that there was an intentional act, the creation of a policy, that excludes people based on their protected status as transgender women,» Nunley wrote in her decision, according to OutSports. «The Court does not determine whether this is sufficient to actually establish intentional discrimination, but it does raise serious questions.»
PDGA rules state that a transgender woman can play in the women’s division if she meets one of the established criteria: being less than 2 nmol/L for two years or having had a «medical transition during or before Tanner Stage 2.» age 12, whichever is later. and «the player must also continuously maintain a total serum testosterone level below 2.0 nmol/L.»
Nunley opposed the transition part of the criteria.
«This section appears to directly target an individual’s sex and gender by creating a timeline when one should transition,» Nunley wrote. «Those who do not meet this schedule will be forever barred from the FPO. This policy seems inextricably linked to sex and gender and, at this stage of the litigation, the Court cannot see how to separate them. Accordingly, the Court finds serious doubts going to the merits of the lawsuit for intentional discrimination».
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On Friday, the tour appealed the ruling and won after Ryan had already completed the first round. Ryan was eliminated from the tournament after finishing the day in fifth place, according to Ultiworld.
«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 Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit wrote in its decision, via Ultiworld.
The Disc Golf Pro Tour added: «This order restores the DGPT’s ability to enforce its current policy on gender eligibility. The DGPT will follow the court’s ruling and will enforce its Gender Eligibility Policy which will prevent Ms. Ryan from continue to compete at the OTB Open.» «
Ryan promised in an Instagram post that he was not going to back down.
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«I won’t be threatened, I won’t be bullied, I won’t be deleted. It’s a breath of fresh air to compete where I belong,» she wrote. «To all the trans people who love this sport as much as I do, I’m here for you, we all deserve better.»