Is She Or Isn’t He?
She wants in. They say no. She’s a “he” and, after all, this is the “Ladies” Professional Golf Association. Sorry, “gender reassignment” doesn’t qualify. LPGA rules were changed recently to meet her challenge, and now state that only women born women are women. Transgender golfer Lana Lawless, who won the ladies world long-drive championship in 2008, sued last week to re-enter the competition.
Opinion is divided on the issue. Not only do significant physical variations appear in both sexes, the typical XY male and XX female chromosomes exist alongside complex chromosomal or “intersex” patterns. But wait, it gets more complicated.
Caster Semenya of South Africa blew away her track and field competition last year in Berlin. The losers cried foul: she looks and runs like a man. Test results indicate she is a hermaphrodite, possessing aspects of both female and male organs. Caster was suspended by the governing body but reinstated in July.
Professional tennis player Sarah Gronert was also born a hermaphrodite, She had surgery last year to become a “certified” woman. Over objections from many co-players, who reported her serve makes that of Venus Williams look like a soft lob, the Women’s Tennis Association accepts Sarah.
The most compelling argument against transsexual women competing is that even after surgical reassignment, the muscular make-up doesn’t change. Or does it? Renee Richards, born Richard Raskind (all male), raised the issue over thirty years ago when she requested a transfer from the male to the female Tennis Open after gender reassignment surgery. Her doctor stated that in terms of hormones, which greatly influence muscle mass, Renee was all woman.
The U.S. Tennis Association didn’t buy it and instituted a chromosome test, following the lead of the International Olympic Committee. Renee said the Association feared “an endless stream of made-over Neanderthals who would brutalize Chris Evert and Evonne Goolagong.” There was even concern that a man not good enough to dominate the male tour might transgender just to become a star in the women’s circuit. Renee prevailed through a court order and had a successful but undistinguished tennis career, ranking as high as #20.Continued on the next page