Natalie Ryan, a transgender female disc golfer who was removed from a women’s tournament in California on Friday, vowed to fight the ruling amid an ongoing legal dispute.
Ryan was initially ruled eligible for the Disc Golf Pro Tour (DGPT) event after she was granted a temporary restraining order amid her discrimination lawsuit against the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA). However, the tour appealed the decision and won and removed Ryan from the OTB Open. Ryan was in fifth place when she was removed.
On Sunday, Ryan vowed to keep fighting.
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“The DGPT and PDGA are afraid of metaphor, so I’ve taken down my pervious post. Instead I’m going to make that posts message incredibly clear. My removal from OTB was targeted just as the new policy was,” Ryan’s message read. “The DGPT is now forcing rules it has no place to. They have only done this to hurt me. I will continue to litigate until justice is achieved. I will use this pain to make sure nobody else has to experience it.”
Ryan filed a discrimination lawsuit in February, saying the tour’s decision was based on “prejudice,” according to OutSports. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley granted Ryan a temporary restraining order to allow her to play.
“It appears there was an intentional act, the creation of a policy, that excludes individuals based on their protected status as transgender women,” Nunley wrote in his decision, according to OutSports. “The Court makes no determinations as to whether this is sufficient to actually establish intentional discrimination, but it raises serious questions.”
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The PDGA’s rules state a transgender female may play in the women’s division if they meet one of the criteria laid out – have under 2nmol/L for two years or have had a “medical transition during Tanner Stage 2 or before age 12, whichever is later” and “the player must also continuously maintain a total testosterone level in serum below 2.0 nmol/L.”
Nunley took exception to the transition part of the criteria.
“This section appears to directly target an individual’s sex and gender by creating a temporal line when one must transition,” Nunley wrote. “Those who fail to comport with this timeline are forever barred from the FPO. This policy seems inextricably tied to sex and gender and, at this stage of litigation, the Court can see no way to separate them. Accordingly, the Court finds serious questions going to the merits of the intentional discrimination claim.”
On Friday, the tour filed an appeal of the ruling and won after Ryan had already completed the first round. Ryan was removed from the tournament after finishing the day in fifth, according to Ultiworld.
“It appears that the district court lacks diversity jurisdiction over the [Disc Golf Pro] Tour because Plaintiff and at least one member of the Tour are citizens of Virginia,” the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in its decision, via Ultiworld.
The Disc Golf Pro Tour added, “This order restores the DGPT’s ability to enforce its current policy on Gender Eligibility. The DGPT will follow the court’s ruling and enforce its Gender Eligibility Policy which will disallow Ms. Ryan from continuing competition in the OTB Open.”