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Transgender Player's Atty Gives LGPA Last Shot

SAN FRANCISCO -  Christopher Dolan, the attorney for Lana Lawless, a transgender woman who has filed suit against the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and the Long Drive Association (LDA) for violation of her civil rights, today gave formal notice to them that either they immediately announce that they will change their alleged unlawful policy of discriminating against transgender people in their Women's Golf Championship and permit Ms. Lawless to compete or the legal process instituted by the complaint, filed on October 12, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (CV 104599), will immediately commence. 

Despite the fact that the Complaint has been posted online by the United States District Court, and on The Dolan Law Firm's Website, the LPGA had claimed that it could not comment because it had not seen the Complaint.

"I have now e-mailed, and sent to them in snail mail, a file endorsed copy of the Complaint along with the attached proof wherein the LPGA, in writing, allegedly violated Ms. Lawless' rights," Mr Dolan said. "They can no longer decline comment as they are unequivocally in possession of the Complaint."

Mr. Dolan is giving the LPGA and LDA until Midnight, Thursday, October 21, 2010, to comply with his request.

"I have done for them the work that their own lawyers should have done to prevent discrimination against Ms. Lawless by excluding her from LPGA qualifying events, pro teaching schools, and other benefits of the LPGA's activities in California," he said. "I have provided, as anyone can see by looking at the letters sent this morning, citations to the California Statutes which shows clearly that their conduct is in violation of California Law. It shouldn't take more then ten minutes to confirm that their policy is unlawful. That gives them 71 hours and fifty minutes to do the right thing. They should immediately adopt the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and United States Golf Association's (USGA) Transgender Qualifications Policies."

Ms. Lawless, a professional golfer, and past winner of the Remax Women's Long Drive Championship in 2008, applied to join the LPGA's qualifying events in order to be eligible to join the tour or to go through the LPGA Pro School. The LPGA rejected her application based on its rules that require all players, to qualify and compete, must be "born female." Although Ms. Lawless' birth certificate states "female," she was rejected by both the LPGA and the LDA.

Lawless, a former male police officer and special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team member, has undergone a complete gender reassignment and is legally female. The suit, filed on October 12, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (CV 104599), claims that the LPGA and its sponsor CVS have engaged in discrimination based on sex/transgender status in violation of California's landmark UNHRU anti-discrimination law which protects transgender persons from discrimination in the provision of goods, services and contracts.

The suit also claims that, after Lawless won the Re/Max Woman's LDA championship, the LDA changed its rules to specifically exclude her from participating in future contests by adopting the LPGA's "born female" requirement.

The suit, filed the day before the CVS LPGA Challenge at the Black Hawk Country Club in Danville, Calif., seeks to enjoin the LPGA and LDA from hosting their tournaments and/or qualifying events in California as long as they exclude transgender women from participating. It also seeks damages against the LPGA, LDA, and their sponsors, CVS, Re/Max and Dick's Sporting Goods, for allegedly violating Lawless' civil rights and for interfering with her ability to earn a living as a professional golfer.

"Ms. Lawless is giving the LPGA the opportunity to change its policy to comply with California law and avoid needless litigation," Mr. Dolan said. "We hope that they will do the right thing and comply with California Law."

"If not," he continued, "I will take all legal action to assure that the LPGA is not allowed to discriminate in California. If necessary, I am prepared to work with civil rights attorneys licensed in other states where transgender discrimination is illegal to prevent the LPGA from doing business in those states. The LPGA currently has training schools, and tournaments such as the Kraft Nabisco Championship (AKA The Dinah Shore Tournament) and Kia Classic, scheduled to take place in California next year. If they take this action now, we will not have to seek a temporary restraining order against them from holding these important golfing events in California."

 


STORY TAGS: WOMEN , MINORITY , DISCRIMINATION , DIVERSITY , FEMALE , UNDERREPRESENTED , EQUALITY , GENDER BIAS , EQUALITY, GENERAL , BLACKS , AFRICAN AMERICAN , LATINO , HISPANIC , MINORITIES , CIVIL RIGHTS , DISCRIMINATION , RACISM , DIVERSITY , RACIAL EQUALITY , BIAS , EQUALITY



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