Caitlyn Jenner defends pioneering trans golfer Hailey Davidson: ‘She’s playing by the rules’
Caitlyn Jenner has defended a golfer who came close to becoming the first trans woman to join the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour.
Jenner, 72, has long stressed how “unfair” it is for cis sportspeople to play against trans women such as swimmer Lia Thomas.
But in an interview with Fox News on Wednesday (24 August), the former Olympic decathlete and golf fan said Hailey Davidson’s success isn’t down to her being trans, as some of her predictable critics may think.
Jenner said: “I’ve been very consistent with how I’ve tried to approach these transgender athletes. It really depends on the sport. Every sport is different.
“Obviously, we saw with Lia Thomas, she had gone through male puberty, bigger cardiovascular system, it just wasn’t fair. And fortunately, we won that one
“Golf is a totally different game. It is a game of touch of feel. It is about your ability around the green, to get the ball out of the bunker.”
“She’s playing within the rules,” Caitlyn Jenner added. “Golf is [a] totally different game. It is a game of touch and feel.”
Since 2010, the LPGA has welcomed trans women if they have undergone hormonal therapy and gender-affirming surgery, according to the association’s gender policy.
This means a trans woman could qualify for the Epson Tour, the official qualifying tour for the American women golfers organisation.
Davidson, a Scottish-born professional golfer now living in Florida, came close to doing just that in early August before narrowly failing to make the cut during Stage I of the Epsom Tour Qualifying School.
And Jenner said she’s not sure if Davidson had what it takes to make the LPGA. “The jury is still out on this one. Let’s just let it play out,” the former California gubernatorial replacement candidate said.
But Davidson inching close to becoming a card-holder drew backlash from those who believe trans women shouldn’t take part in any women’s sports.
This included Judy Murray, a tennis coach and mother to former tennis number one Andy Murray, who said it was “not fair at all” that Davidson was playing.
Davidson’s mum, Sandra Davidson, defended her daughter. “You [Judy Murray] do not know my daughter Hailey and most importantly you know absolutely nothing about transgender men or women,” she told Scottish tabloid the Daily Record.
“To be honest with you, I’m on Hailey’s mum’s side,” Caitlyn Jenner said. “They don’t know what it is like to go through a transition, how difficult it is.
“The mothers do know and Hailey’s mom knows what this child has been through and is out there supporting her.”
Davidson thanked the LPGA on Wednesday for allowing her to compete. “I’m disappointed not to make it to stage two but am still hopeful about the future,” she wrote on Instagram.
“I understand the questions and dialogue surrounding transgender athletes. I honestly do. What I don’t understand, though, is the hatred that comes with it.
“Some people initiate these attacks willingly, while others maybe don’t understand how hurtful their words can be.”
Davidson stressed that if she was actually “dominating women’s golf” as her critics say, she would have cruised through the qualifying school.
She added: “While the world may see me as a transgender woman, I’m also a human being. No matter what your viewpoint may be on transgender athletes or transgender people in general, we are just like any other human in wanting to simply be accepted.
“The world is full of far too much hate at the moment. Although this hate may be loud, love and equality will always win in the end.”
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