Mianne Bagger (born December 25, 1966) is a female touring professional golfer from Denmark. Bagger took up golf at the age of eight. At the age of 14, she was pictured with golf legend Greg Norman during a golf clinic. Bagger moved to Australia in 1979. In 1995, she had sex reassignment surgery. In 1998, she returned to golf, as an amateur in Australia.

When she started playing amateur tournaments in Australia, she caused a media stir. Many golf fans argued that her being born a male could give her an advantage over other female competitors. Bagger answered by saying that many people aren't aware of physiological aspects of gender variant conditions and the issues related to transition. But since the Australian Women's Golf Association had no ban against transitioned females, she was welcomed to play there. At Bagger's first tournament as a professional, Laura Davies and Rachel Teske were among players who were happy to allow Mianne to compete.

In 1999, Bagger won her first South-Australian championship, repeating as champion in 2001 and 2002.

She caused media stir in 2003, when she played the Australia Women's Open and attempted to join the Australian Ladies Professional Golf association (ALPG). At the tournament she met Ty Votaw, the Commissioner of the LPGA who was later questioned about their policies stating "right now, our rule is that they have to be born women". Mianne notes that "they obviously don't consider that I meet that condition"[1]. (Her comment reflects the perspective of most transitioned men and women and their allies, who do not consider biology the sole arbiter of gender). However, Votaw left the possibility open for that rule to change in the future.

The 2004 ruling by the International Olympic Committee regarding transitioned athletes led to a re-examination of rules in many sports. In September 2004, the Ladies European Tour voted on amending their membership entry criteria, allowing Mianne to compete on tour. Later that year, the ALPG also voted in favor of changing their constitution to remove the 'female at birth' clause, thus making Bagger eligible to join the ALPG Tour in Australia.

On 9 February 2005, the Ladies Golf Union also announced a policy change allowing Bagger to compete in the Women's British Open.

On 21 March 2005, the United States Golf Association announced it has adopted a new 'gender policy' that allows transitioned athletes to compete in USGA golf championships, including the upcoming U.S. Women's Open.

As yet, the LPGA in the U.S. has been reluctant to amend their position and have not changed their constitution and maintain a 'female at birth' entry condition.

Although the various policy changes have enable Mianne (and other transitioned athletes) to compete professionally, the policies very much remain under review. Mianne and other transitioned athletes around the world, continue to lobby the various golf tours and also the IOC and WADA in their approach to recognising gender diversity, while supporting research is sadly lacking.

External links

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