Disc golf org to cancel female divisions after trans activist pressure

This comes after a male athlete who identifies as female pursued legal action.

On Friday, Disc Golf Pro Tour announced that it would relocate the Female Professional Open (FPO) division at some of the largest events of the season to other states while canceling other FPO divisions completely in order to avoid more legal troubles as a result of lawsuits from Natalie Ryan, a male disc golfer who identifies as a female and has sued DGPT in California and Minnesota over gender eligibility policies that restricts him from competing.

In disc golf, players use plastic discs instead of balls and attempt to throw discs into baskets or targets situated on a golf course.

In a press release obtained by The Post Millennial, DGPT said, “These adjustments have been made in order to protect competitive fairness in the FPO division and to limit financial burden in locations where the PDGA Policy on Eligibility for Gender-Based Divisions may become the subject of last-minute litigation harmful to the tour.”

The release mentioned several times that financial liability was a major part of the decision to change the schedule. According to a tour spokesperson, DGPT has already spent more than $100,000 on the legal fights surrounding transgender eligibility. A survey by the association in December showed 67 percent of its members and 80 percent of its female members disagreed with the statement: “Transgender women should be allowed to compete with other women in disc golf and in other sports.”

Ryan filed a discrimination lawsuit protesting the Professional Disc Golf Association Pro Tour’s new rules in February which stated that trans-identifying males seeking to compete in the women’s division must have medically transitioned during Tanner Stage Two of puberty or before turning 12. The new rules also required a low testosterone level, which excluded Ryan from playing.

DGPT is attempting to move the FPO division events at the Ledgestone Open in Illinois, the Discraft Great Lakes Open in Michigan, and the MVP Open in Massachusetts, to other states. According to the release, the organization is “optimistic” about finding replacements for Ledgestone and DGLO and will attempt to maintain all media coverage, including live broadcasts on the Disc Golf Network.

The agency hopes that the MVP Open “would take place sometime between the 2023 PDGA Pro World Championships and the U.S. Women’s Disc Golf Championship.”

The FPO division at the American Flying Discs Open in New York and the Discmania Open in Canada are being canceled.

DGPT CEO Jeff Spring in a statement, “Competitive fairness is the underpinning of the Disc Golf Pro Tour, the professional disc golf industry, and all of elite, competitive sport worldwide. The DGPT is committed to the future of the FPO division, and in order to protect competitive fairness for the division, these changes are necessary at this time. We will not waiver on the PDGA Gender Eligibility Policy as we’ve adopted it for the FPO division. This said, I also want to affirm the concept that you can simultaneously respect and support transgender people and support competitive fairness for the FPO division. These are not mutually exclusive concepts, and the DGPT will continue to show respect to all people involved while thinking creatively about long-term solutions for this challenging issue.”

No changes are being made to the Mid America Open in Missouri, the LWS Open at Idlewild in Kentucky, and the DGPT Championship in North Carolina.

Many noted that the tours in states that went rent in the 2020 Presidential election are not seeing changes but tours in blue states were.

In 2022, Ryan was the first biological man to win the women’s Elite Series event. Earlier this month, a Minnesota judge blocked the Professional Disc Golf Association from enforcing its policy restricting trans-identifying players from participating in women’s events, a policy change went into effect on Jan. 1.

As a result of the judge's ruling, Ryan was able to compete earlier this month in the Preserve Championship Female Professional Open in Clearwater, Minnesota.

Ryan underwent sex change surgery in 2018 and then began competing in women’s disc golf. Ryan won two Elite Series events in 2022 and earned $19,360 in prize money.
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