A biological man is set to become the first transgender person to compete at the Ladies Professional Golf Association after beating women in the qualifying rounds.
Hailey Davidson, 29, from Florida shot a 70 on Thursday at the LPGA and Epson Tour Qualifying Tour and 76 during the second round on Friday, which will likely earn him a coveted place on the prestigious Ladies’ Tour.
She tied at 59th place out of 310 women in the competition.
Under the LPGA’s rules, a player who scores under 88 over the course of three rounds will automatically qualify for a place on the 2023 Epsom Tour where Davidson will compete against the top 100.
Davidson was born a man and underwent male puberty. She completed her transition in 2021 after hormone treatment and gender reassignment surgery.
“I know I have what it takes from being around professional golfers on the LPGA/PGA/Champions Tour over the recent years and staying very competitive with them all,” she wrote on her fundraising page.
“While I know that I have the talent and mental game to make a career out of playing, the initial cost of tournaments and practice expenses is what truly holds me back.”
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Before this, she had competed in male golfing competitions until 2015. The LGPA changed its rules in 2010 to say that biological men could compete against women in its competitions, removing its ‘female at birth’ requirement.
Despite the fact that biological men can generally hit a golf ball further than most women, Davidson said that she believes her critics are “transphobic”:
“I’ve seen that it’s not about protecting women’s sports or me having an advantage, it’s just that you don’t like trans people,” she whinged on the Like It Is podcast.
“It’s very sad that that’s what it comes down to. In the last couple of months, that’s what I’ve come to learn.”
She then claimed that after her transition, she now hits the ball 15mph slower.
But most scientists agree that hormone therapy will not reverse the lifelong effects of male puberty when the body is flooded with testosterone, causing increased muscle mass and strength:
“We report that the performance gap between males and females becomes significant at puberty and often amounts to 10–50% depending on sport,” wrote Emma Hilton and Tommy R. Lundberg in Sports Science.
“The performance gap is more pronounced in sporting activities relying on muscle mass and explosive strength, particularly in the upper body.”
The paper went on to say that testosterone suppression only amounted to “very modest changes” in sporting performance and strength.
“The loss of lean body mass, muscle area and strength typically amounts to approximately 5% after 12 months of treatment.
“Thus, the muscular advantage enjoyed by transgender women is only minimally reduced when testosterone is suppressed.”
This latest blow to women’s sport comes after a long line of male-born individuals competing against and beating women in semi-professional and professional sporting competitions.
The international swimming association, FINA banned transgender women from all its competitions across the globe after male-born swimmer Lia Thomas won the women’s NCAA championships earlier this year.
18 states have now banned transgender students from competing in the gender category they identify with.