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Trans Disc Golfer Natalie Ryan Booted From Tournament

Trans Disc Golfer Natalie Ryan Booted From Tournament

Natalie Ryan

Ryan is fighting her sport's restrictions on trans women's participation but has lost a round in federal court.

A transgender woman has been kicked out of the Disc Golf Pro Tour, having first won a court order to prevent that and then lost when tour officials and the sport’s governing body appealed.

Natalie Ryan, who filed a discrimination lawsuit against the tour and the Professional Disc Golf Association in February, won a temporary restraining order Thursday that allowed her to compete in the first round of the tour’s OTB Open, which began Friday in Stockton, Calif., Outsportsreports.

The association had released a new policy on trans women’s participation in December, stating that they had to meet one of three criteria — having been on hormone therapy for 24 months and reached a certain low testosterone level, having had gender-affirming surgery and reached that level, or having been on puberty blockers prior to age 12 — if they are to compete in the Female Professional Open division. Ryan was informed she’d be excluded, and she filed a lawsuit in federal court in California, alleging illegal discrimination.

U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley granted a temporary restraining order, writing, “It appears there was an intentional act, the creation of a policy, that excludes individuals based on their protected status as transgender women. The Court makes no determinations as to whether this is sufficient to actually establish intentional discrimination, but it raises serious questions.”

However, the defendants appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which granted a stay on the restraining order Friday, not because of the merits of the case but because, it said, the federal courts lack jurisdiction in the matter.

“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’s opinion reads, according to UltiWorld Disc Golf.

“For Ryan’s case to be heard in a federal court, one requirement is that the plaintiff (Ryan), who is a citizen of Virginia, must be totally ‘diverse’ (i.e., from a different state) than the defendants,” UltiWorld Disc Golf explains.

Ryan has said she will continue fighting. She could file her case in a state court in California or elsewhere, the sitenotes, or even continue pursuing it in federal court, hoping for a different outcome. She has been involved in the sport for several years and has won two championships in the tour’s Elite Series. She finished the first round of the OTB Open before the Ninth Circuit released its opinion and was in fifth place, but she was not allowed to complete the tournament, which ended Sunday.

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