Pro Disc Golf Backtracks, Effectively Bans Men from Competing as Women

Disc Golf
Andrew Olsen/EyeEm

In an unexpected move, the Pro Disc Golf Association (PDGA) has backtracked from its initial acceptance of transgender “women” and has now instituted a new rule that effectively bans most trans athletes from competing under their self-assigned category.

Earlier this year, trans athlete Natalie Ryan, a biological man, suddenly entered the world of women’s professional disc golf and, after playing the sport for only a few seasons, began knocking natural-born female opponents out of top slots in tournaments all across the country.

Ryan came out of nowhere and began raking in thousands of dollars in tournament winnings, going from a little-known player to number five in the world in just a season.

While the PDGA stood aside and allowed Ryan to dominate women’s disc golf these past two seasons — even celebrating his participation — during the association’s winter meeting, there was an abrupt change on the topic of trans athletes.

The PDGA has now changed its rules and put a very strict reading on its criteria for allowing transgender players to compete in their chosen category.

The new criteria now reads as follows:

Players are only eligible to compete in the gender-based FPO division at PDGA Pro Majors (Champions Cup, USWDGC, European Open, and Pro Worlds) if they began medical transition during Tanner Stage 2 or before age 12, whichever is later. The player must also continuously maintain a total testosterone level in serum below 2.0 nmol/L.

This means that trans players born as men will have to have begun their “transition” before puberty at around 12 years of age. This deals a huge blow to any man who decides to become a female athlete later in life. These athletes are effectively banned from being able to choose the gender with which they “identify” in the sport.

This also means that Natalie Ryan is now barred from competing as a woman from this point forward.

Naturally, Ryan is furious. The disc player took to Instagram and promised to “fight” the new rules.

“Time for the fight of my life to kick off. I will absolutely not take this sitting down. Stay tuned for what’s to come,” Ryan said in an Instagram post on Tuesday.

“I’m incredibly saddened and hurt by this announcement. I did everything I could to speak on behalf of inclusion, but the PDGA board of directors had a decision made before I even set foot in that room. One thing is clear to me: This change was never about fairness,” Ryan continued.

“If fairness was the boards only priority the would have removed all trans women from competition. Instead, this decision send a clear message: The board doesn’t want to see me succeed. They don’t care about local trans women or semi pro trans women nor masters trans women. This is about my success and their aversion to it,” Ryan said.

Ryan went on to urge members of the sport who support transgenderism to run for the PDGA board so that new rules can be passed to eliminate the rule that he opposes.

Whatever happens in the future, this new rule effectively eliminating all transgender athletes from self-assigning their own category of competition is a step in the right direction to return women’s sports to actual women.

Other sports should follow suit.

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