Transgender disc golf competitor “Natalie” Ryan was barred from continuing to compete in the California Disc Golf Pro Tour last weekend after a federal judge’s order was overturned on appeal, Fox News reported.
Last December, the Professional Disc Golf Association updated its rules on transgender players participating in its tournaments.
Under the PDGA’s new rules, transgender athletes are permitted to compete in the women’s division if they meet one of two criteria. They must have a testosterone level of under 2nmol/L for two years or have a “medical transition during Tanner State 2 or before age 12.” Additionally, the player must maintain a total testosterone level under 2.0 nmol/L.
The tightened rules would have prevented Ryan from playing in the women’s division. But in February, Ryan filed a discrimination lawsuit arguing that the PDGA’s decision was based on “prejudice.”
Last Thursday, US District Judge Troy Nunly granted a temporary restraining order allowing Ryan to play in the California tournament.
In his decision, Nunley said the PDGA’s rules change appeared to be “an intentional act” to create a policy excluding individuals “based on their protected status as transgender women.” Nunley wrote that while the Court is not determining if there is sufficient evidence that the discrimination was intentional, “it raises serious questions.”
But on Friday, the PDGA appealed Judge Nunley’s ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and won.
In its decision, the Ninth Circuit wrote that Judge Nunley lacked “diversity jurisdiction” over the Disc Golf Pro Tour since the Plaintiff and at least one Tour member are both citizens of Virginia.
In its statement, the Disc Golf Pro Tour said the appeals court decision restored its ability to enforce its Gender Eligibility policy. The tour said it would “disallow” Ryan “from continuing competition” in the California Open.
Ryan, who had already competed in the first round and finished in fifth place, was removed from the tournament.
In an Instagram post, Ryan vowed to continue to fight against the policy.