Hailey Davidson, who is biologically male but identifies as female, competed and won a professional title in women’s golf last week.
The transgender athlete, who formally competed in men’s college golf athletics, is now hoping to be eligible for the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).
The athlete, Golkweek reported, toppled LPGA player Perrine Delacour when Davidson snatched the women’s title at Providence Golf Club in Orlando on Thursday.
The same day, the United States Golf Association (USGA) informed Davidson that the golfer had met the organization’s Gender Policy eligibility criteria and can now compete in the group’s championships.
Davidson, a 28-year-old social media employee for NBC’s Peacock division under the Golf Channel, is seeking the same determination from the LPGA.
“I’m not just going to be stuck on mini-tours,” Davidson said, according to Golfweek.
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Davidson’s application for the LPGA is still under review.
“We are currently reviewing Hailey’s application to participate in LPGA Tour events under the LPGA’s gender policy,” said LPGA chief tour operations officer Heather Daly-Donofrio, Pro Golf Weekly reported. “The policy is designed to be a private and confidential process between the LPGA and the athlete.”
Golfweek reported that the LPGA in 2010 “voted to eliminate its requirement that players be ‘female at birth’ not long after a transgender woman filed a lawsuit against the tour.”
The USGA changed its Gender Policy this year “to shorten the length of time transgender athletes had to wait to compete,” the report said. “Under the previous policy, a player must have undergone gender reassignment surgery at least two years prior to the entry deadline. The revised policy eliminated the two-year period. Gender reassignment surgery must now be completed prior to the championship entry deadline.”
The LPGA previously had a two-year rule implemented, though the policy was recently changed.
Davidson suggested the two-year rule was transphobic, essentially an attempt to stave off trans athletes. “To be honest, you’re really just putting up a two-year roadblock to hope that we give up by the time that two years finishes,” the 28-year-old said. “That’s all I ever saw it as.”
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The athlete formerly competed at Christopher Newport University on the men’s team.
“The last tournament Davidson competed in as a male was U.S. Open local qualifying in 2015 at Admiral’s Cove in Jupiter, where she lost in a 10-for-1 playoff,” Golfweek reported.
The athlete had transgender surgery earlier this year and has been under hormone therapy since September 2015.
Davidson said any biological advantage the athlete had as a male is now nonexistent: “Any advantage that existed is fully gone,” the golfer said. Golfweek reported on Davidson’s transformation and weight loss:
Davidson said she’s lost 9 mph in swing speed and hits it roughly 30 yards shorter off the tee since beginning hormonal treatments. Her doctor required that she lose weight before surgery, roughly 60 pounds, and Davidson reached that goal and then just kept going, losing 90 pounds in the last 300 days. She stayed away from any weight training in the process, doing whatever she could to trim muscle mass.
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