April 11, 2024

Natalie Ryan: An Emotional Decision to Burn Bridges


Natalie Ryan decided to take to Instagram over the weekend. She decided that it would be in her best interest to attack the FPO division and alienate those fans on the fence in the same post. nn


n “I am not the only new touring player who has found success as part of a newer generation of FPO disc golfers with a more well rounded game. Attributing this success only to the fact that I’m transgender ignores the hard work I have put in to gain competency in every shot shape and angle but also ignores the fact that others have done so too. My most active detractors have been complacent and haven’t improved their games in years. They only started due to the evolution of FPO that now requires it to win. They won’t speak up despite the survey pointing to disc golf leaning more conservative, disproving their fear for being canceled. Transpeople’s anger for situations like this has been used against them for generations as justification for our collective removal from public spaces. I refuse to fall in line and accept that this is or. My frustration is valid.”nn

nOf course, this made its way to r/DiscGolf. The comment section inevitably devolved into a name calling match. But in the piles of crap, there were a few kernels of truth sprinkled in. nnU/PrudentFood77 seemed to summarize the general sentiment against Natalie Ryan in a concise respectful way when they wrote, “well from what I read you just have practice more Natalie and you will be able to be competitive in MPO without any problem… or are you just to[sic] lazy to put in the work you need to do to reach that level?” nnU/she-hyzers-1234 added in a separate response that accurately summarized Natalie Ryan’s supports, “I’ve been a supporter of hers, but she’s insufferable.” nnThose general sentiment from both reddit and a few of comments that have not been deleted form Instagram fall into the category of either “backing you 110%, get ‘em,” or “your rhetoric is killing any chance of swaying people.” nnAs the results of the show the DGPT touring FPO overwhelming majority, 80%, think transgender women have an unfair advantage and should not be allowed to compete in FPO. Attacking 80% of the field saying they only voted that way because they do not practice is not the way to win people to your side. Throughout the last offseason and this one, there are countless examples of FPO players posting on social media about their workouts, field work, diet, and so on. Those who agree with you that you should be allowed to participate in you are finding it harder and harder to voice support when you attack the field. nnAs for those who will not speak up, it is my understanding that the manufacturers/sponsors do not want any of the players making waves; especially when it comes to controversial topics. If players were financially sound from outside of the manufactures, I would guarantee that more players would speak up one way or another. But speaking up will likely impact their livelihood, potentially suspending or terminating the contract early. nnAs I have thought about the policy more over this past week and after reading the Q&A Ultiworld did with the PDGA, I am inclined to agree with some points Natalie Ryan has brought up. My stance has not changed; I still believe, based on the best available research, that transgender women should not compete in FPO. With that being said some of the responses to questions myself and others have raised are incomplete at best. nnOne of the two big questions I and others raised was about the 2nmol/L testosterone limit because its less than the average range for a woman; the high end of an average woman is 2.4nmol/L. the PDGA’s response was a very longwinded politician answer. It had a lot of buzz words with no substance. nnWhen asked about the two different policies for touring players compared to the rest of the players. The PDGA’s response was again filled with buzz words and not much to go from. How I interpret it, the PDGA does not really care about the amateur side of the sport. I believe because the amateur side is not broadcast, the PDGA could not be bothered with doing anything more than the minimum. What I believe should have happened is the Pro Major policy applied across the board, but I digress. nnMoving back to Natalie Ryan’s statement, I do not understand the line, “our collective removal from public spaces.” Maybe I’m a little naïve but who is removing anyone from public spaces? The PDGA and DGPT are not banning transgender women from participation. Mixed Pro Open is a viable option. And if all it takes is practice, Natalie Ryan should not have a problem cashing or winning in 2023. nnWhat the disc golf community, or at least those who voted in the survey, want is a fair playing field. As the limited science show at the end of December 2022, transgender women have a distinct advantage in part due to anthropometric and hormonal difference. The PDGA and DGPT chose to make FPO a level playing field, sacrificing inclusion. In sports, you must accept either a fair playing field or inclusion. nn

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