Thanks to the efforts and lawsuit filed by the San Fransisco based, The Dolan Firm. Here’s a press release with the details of this very interesting case.
December 02, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/ — The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), following a vote of its members, today changed its policy requiring that players be female at birth to participate in LPGA tournaments and events. The change came following a lawsuit brought by Lana Lawless, a transgender woman who underwent sexual reassignment surgery in 2005. Lawless, the winner of the ReMax Long Drivers Association’s (LDA) World Long Drive Championship in 2008, sought to participate in an LPGA tournament in California and was rejected by senior LPGA tour officials because she was not born female. Lawless filed suit in the US District Court in the Northern District of California (Case No CV10 4599 DMR) under the California UNRUH act which prevents discrimination on the basis of, among other things, race, sex, sexual orientation, and transgender status.
Ms. Lawless’ attorney, Christopher Dolan of the Dolan Law Firm in San Francisco, stated that while he and his client were pleased that the LPGA has brought its behavior in line with well established California Law, it is shocking that they had to hold a vote as to whether or not they would violate the law. When asked if the case would proceed against the LPGA given their rule change, Dolan confirmed his commitment to move the suit forward: “changing the unlawful rule was a part of the lawsuit and we are pleased that this has been accomplished. However, it does not change the fact that the LPGA discriminated against Ms. Lawless by knowingly denying her the right to participate based on her transgendered status. The fact that they later altered their unlawful practice does not provide a get out of jail free card for their prior unlawful conduct.”
In response to the LPGA’s policy change, Ms. Lawless said, “I should not have had to bring a lawsuit to be treated fairly under the law. I am a female, the law recognizes me as female, my birth certificate now says that I am female, I am anatomically female, and I have lower testosterone levels than most women. I am not ‘femaleish.’ Transgender people are entitled to be treated equally, and the prejudices against them and myself are unfounded. People say that I will have an advantage because I was once male. That is simply false. I have been beaten by other women before and most likely I will be beaten again. I just want to compete with the other girls. These rules need to change so that other trans people coming up behind me can be treated equally and fairly.”
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONTACT: Christopher Dolan, The Dolan Law Firm, 1438 Market Street, San Francisco, CA; 415-421-2800; fax 415-421-2830; http://www.cbdlaw.com.
The LPGA made the right decision in changing its policy against permitting transgender women from participating in LPGA events. I’m wondering whether the LPGA changed it’s policy because it was the “right” thing to do; or because it didn’t want to risk being barred from playing in California?
Here is a great example of a lawyer fighting for the civil rights of a client, and gaining a great outcome. Kudos to Mr. Dolan. Nicely done.