A former male SWAT team member filed a lawsuit in California against the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) after the now transgender woman was denied in her efforts to join the women's golf tour, her lawyer said Wednesday.
Lana Lawless, the 2008 Women's Long Drive Association (LDA) champion, claims in her lawsuit that her civil rights have been violated by the LPGA. The LPGA rules state that no one can play on tour unless she was born female.
The LPGA has rejected Lawless' applications to enter qualifying events. Lawless is legally female after undergoing a sex change operation.
Lawless is also suing the LDA, which holds driving distance competitions. Lawless claims the LDA changed its rules to prevent her from entering future events after she won in 2008.
“California’s civil rights laws prevent discrimination against all minorities, including transgender persons. The LPGA and LDA operate a number of high profile qualifying events and tournaments in California which are highly lucrative to their sponsors," said Lawless' attorney, Christopher Dolan, in a statement.
Dolan said the goal of the lawsuit is to force the LPGA and LDA to end their discriminatory practices in order to continue running tournaments in California.
“I have traveled a long road to get to where I am now, a place where I always belonged as a strong, proud, capable woman. I am, in all respects, legally, and physically female. The State of California recognizes me as such and the LPGA should not be permitted to come into California and blatantly violate my rights. I just want to have the same opportunity to play professional golf as any other woman," Lawless said.
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