Lana Lawless: The Story Behind Transgender Trying to Play On LPGA Tour

Elliott Pohnl@@ElliottPohnl_BRFeatured ColumnistOctober 13, 2010

Lana Lawless: The Story Behind Transgender Trying to Play On LPGA Tour

0 of 5

    Lana Lawless wants to have a chance to play on the LPGA and is taking her battle to the courts.

    Lawless, 57, underwent surgery in 2005 to complete her gender reassignment.

    Now, she wants to have a chance to compete in both the LPGA and the Women's World Championship of Long-Drive golf.

    Here's a closer look at Lawless' background and other important details of this story.

Background on Lana Lawless

1 of 5

    Lawless is a former police officer who underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2005.

    In 2008, she claimed the Women's Long-Drive golf championship.  She attempted to compete in the event this year, but was barred from competition.

    The Long Drivers of America and two title sponsors are also named in the lawsuit.

More On Lana Lawless

2 of 5

    As a Police Officer in southern California, Lawless battled serious depression before ultimately deciding to have an operation to change genders.

    Lawless has had a life-long passion for golf and maintained a plus-one handicap on the links.

    In an interview with the Press-Enterprise, Lawless said she was not at peace until attending a transsexual nightclub in 2003.

    She began confronting her lifelong desire to become a women and began undergoing therapy before undergoing surgery for gender reassignment.

Lawless Makes Name for Herself in 2008

3 of 5

    A year after her surgery, Lawless was watching the Long Drive competition and decided to give it a whirl.

    She entered the event in 2007 and finished third, then hit a 254-yard drive against a 30 mile-per-hour wind in the finals to capture the title in 2008.

    The win netted Lawless $12,500 and placed her in the public eye as speculation about her eligibility became a hot topic in the national news media.

The Lawsuit and Her Argument

4 of 5

    Lawless officially filed her lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, charging that the the LPGA's ban violates California's civil rights policy.

    Her contention is that the organization's policy of being "a female at birth" goes against the Civil Rights policy.

    She is looking to prevent the LPGA from holding tournaments in the state of California unless the rules are changed and transgender players are allowed to compete.

    The Long Drivers of America is also named in the lawsuit.

    Lawless cited the International Olympic Committee, which altered its policy on transgender athletes in 2004. 

    The IOC allows transgender competitors providing gender reassignment surgery has been conducted along with two years of hormone-replacement therapy.

Her Official Statement on the Lawsuit

5 of 5

    Lawless released a statement to help clearly define her position Wednesday after filing the lawsuit in San Francisco.

    "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."

    The LPGA and the Long Drivers of America have not released any comments regarding the lawsuit at this time.