Women’s Pro Golf Tour Doubles Down, Defends Decision To Ban Transgender Players

Recently, the professional women’s golf tour, NXXT, moved to ban transgender golfers from competing against biological women. The rule change came after transgender golfer Hailey Davidson, who had previously competed on a men’s golf team in college before identifying as a woman, won a female tournament earlier this year in Florida.

NXXT CEO Stuart McKinnon defended the league’s decision to bar transgender athletes, explaining that, despite the polarizing and controversial nature of the topic, it was a well-thought-out move in the interest of maintaining a level playing field for its female athletes.

“We didn’t make this decision lightly. We knew it was a polarizing topic and would evoke a lot of emotions from people out there,” McKinnon told Fox News. “We took a lot of time in educating ourselves, spoke to many stakeholders in the golfing community and the sporting community at large from coaches and players and doctors and scientists, and educated ourselves.”

A common argument for those calling to prevent transgender athletes from competing against women is that men naturally have physical advantages granted to them through their biology. McKinnon cited this when discussing the tour’s decision as the driving principle behind the rule change.

“It really came down to one principle, and that was about competitive fairness,” he continued. ‘We felt that the biological male had a physiological advantage against the woman on the tour, and we made the decision to change,” he said.

The CEO noted, drawing on his experience as a father with daughters, that there is a need to have protected categories in some sports. McKinnon further claimed there was “overwhelming” support from within NXXT’s player base to modify the existing gender policy.

“I’m a father of five daughters,” McKinnon added. “Growing up in the sports, there was categories… and some is based on sex, and so this is really about protecting that category. In addition, we listened to the players on the tour. We conducted an anonymous player pool and overwhelming feedback came back that they wanted us to change our gender policy guidelines.’”

Moreover, the league’s chief executive described how Hailey’s controversial win in Florida elicited a strong reaction from its golfers where it caused some athletes to refrain from competing on the tour. “When Hailey Davidson did win, what it did was it brought out more feedback from our players on tour, telling us that they would not play anymore and telling us that other players that they knew of weren’t playing on the tour because of our gender policy guidelines,” he continued.

McKinnon emphasized that the tour was not making a rash decision that was influenced by the polarized cultural opinion on the matter. “I can guarantee this was not a knee-jerk reaction to any outside forces,” he stated. “I just bought this tour a year ago, and Davidson provided us with a letter of eligibility from the LPGA and from the USGA, and it took some time to educate myself… on the process that they followed and took some time for myself to learn about this.”






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