Mianne Bagger

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Mianne Bagger
— Golfer —
Maianne Bagger.JPG
Personal information
Full name Mianne Bagger
Born (1966-12-25) 25 December 1966 (age 49)
Copenhagen, Denmark
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)[1][2]
Nationality  Denmark
Residence Adelaide, Australia[2]
Turned professional 2003
Current tour(s) ALPG Tour (joined 2004)
Ladies European Tour (joined 2005)
Achievements and awards
Vardon Trophy 2001[1]

Mianne Bagger (born 25 December 1966) is a professional golfer from Denmark.[3] Bagger moved with her family to Australia in 1979, when she was twelve and started to again play golf fully in 1998, first as an amateur player, then turning professional in 2003. In 2004, by playing in the Women's Australian Open, she became the first openly transitioned woman to play in a professional golf tournament.[4] She also became the first trans woman to qualify for the Ladies European Tour in 2004,[5] also becoming the first high-profile transitioned woman to qualify for a professional sports tour since Renee Richards joined the Women's Tennis Association tour during the 1970s.[6]

She has been instrumental in gaining eligibility for transitioned women to compete on professional golf tours.[3][7] Through her efforts, many professional golf organizations have amended their practices, but the policies generally still constrict rules of gender variance, and view atypically gendered women as something other than women.[3] Bagger has sought to remove gender policies, specifically female-at-birth, as more problematic than helpful, and encourage sports organizations to see "a fuller understanding and acceptance of gender variance and human diversity."[3]

Early life and amateur career[edit]

Bagger was born in Copenhagen, Denmark on 25 December 1966. She 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 with her family to Australia in 1979.[3] In 1992 she started hormone replacement therapy and in 1995, had sex reassignment surgery.[3][8] In 1998 she returned to golf as an amateur in Australia. She was open about her life and played in various amateur events around Adelaide and was invited to join the women's South Australian State Squad.[3] After winning the 1999 South Australian State Amateur the media attention increased.[3] She played for the state team of South Australia (1999–2002) achieving a national top-ten rank for amateur women.[3] Various players from time to time, were still concerned about Bagger having an "unfair advantage"[3] The suspicion was that "if I happen to do well or win a tournament, that it was because of an unfair advantage."[3] She had researched the issues herself and, also through personal experience, realised that concerns were unfounded. All organizations that prevented her from competing had never actually done any research but had merely adopted a blanket ruling without question.[3] Bagger answered that many people are not aware of physiological aspects of gender variant conditions and the issues related to transitioning. Bagger again won the South Australian Amateur in 2001 and 2002.

Bagger felt she had taken her amateur career as far as it could go and was looking to turn professional. She found that rules would prevent her from competing professionally in Australia and "on most golf tours around the world."[3] While still an amateur, she was offered the chance to play in the 2004 Women's Australian Open.[3] This led to a front-page story in Sydney, which prompted Bagger to hold a news conference the day before the tournament to answer questions and present information on transitioned and transgender people.[3]


At Bagger's first tournament as a professional, Laura Davies and Rachel Teske were among players who were happy to allow Bagger to compete.[8] Bagger caused a media stir in 2004 when she played the Australia Women's Open and had intentions also of joining the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour (ALPG Tour).[9] At a tournament in the United States, she met Ty Votaw, the commissioner of the LPGA Tour, who was later questioned about their policies stating "right now, our rule is that they have to be born women." Bagger notes that "they obviously don't consider that I meet that condition."[10] Her comment reflects current medical findings that there are no physical advantages for transitioned women in the sport. Votaw left the possibility open for that rule to change in the future.

The 2004 ruling by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding transitioned athletes led to a re-examination of rules in many sports.[11] The IOC 2004 Stockholm Consensus, which researchers have criticized as "a measure that polices the traditional gender binary while being disguised as a progressive and inclusive measure," spells out specific requirements for a transitioned athlete.[3][12][13][14] Bagger notes that the USGA policy requires "a signed wavier by the entrant giving complete and unrestricted access to one’s medical records and pre-operative and post-operative psychiatric records."[3] Requirements that are unheard of for other competitors.[3] In September 2004, after continued lobbying by Bagger, the Ladies European Tour voted on amending their membership entry criteria, allowing Bagger to compete on tour. Later that year, the ALPG also voted in favour 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. Incidents similar to African runner Caster Semenya having her gender questioned publicly have continued to focus on the policies as well as the athletes.[15][note 1] In 2010, the LPGA amended their bylaws and removed the 'female at birth' entry condition. Although the various policy changes have enabled transitioned athletes to compete, the policies remain under review.[11][19] Bagger, along with a few high profile athletes and a growing number of medical professionals and researchers around the world, continue to lobby the IOC, IAAF, WADA et al. in their approach to embracing the entirety of human diversity and more so, to stop their abuse and targeting of women in sport.[11] Bagger also shares that many of these decisions are made by popular vote of members, ofter professionals in their sport, who are not doctors or medical professionals, and have no relevant medical training.[3]

Amateur wins[edit]

  • 1999 South Australian Ladies Amateur
  • 2000 South Australian Business Women's Championship
  • 2001 South Australian Ladies Amateur, South Australian 72 Hole Strokeplay Championship (Rene Erichsen Trophy)
  • 2002 South Australian Ladies Amateur

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The International Association of Athletics Federations [reportedly] ceased compulsory tests in 1992 but retains the right to test athletes, as was evident with Santhi Soundarajan and Caster Semenya.[16][17] Gender verification was dropped from Olympic sports in 1999 as the issue was delicate and scientifically complicated. The verification involves "an endocrinologist, a gynaecologist, an internal medicine expert, an expert on gender and a psychologist" and takes several weeks. The incident with Caster Semenya in 2009 was not the first time the IAAF has conducted sex verification tests and her dignity and privacy were grossly neglected through their flawed practices.[18]


  1. ^ a b "Ladies European Tour profile". Ladies European Tour. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "ALPG profile". ALPGA Tour. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Love, Adam; Lim, Seung-Yup; DeSensi, Joy T. (Spring 2009). "Mianne Bagger: A Transitioned Woman's Efforts for Inclusion in Professional Golf" (PDF). Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal 18 (1): 68–77. 
  4. ^ Jenkins, Simon P. R. (2005). Sports Science Handbook: A-H. Multi-science Publishing. ISBN 0906522366. 
  5. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/golf/3980131.stm
  6. ^ "Mianne Bagger creates history on the LET". GolfToday. 2004. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Duke, Greg; Gittings, Paul (10 February 2011). "Transsexual golfers prove drivers for change". CNN. 
  8. ^ a b "Transgender Golfer Still Faces Barriers". ABC News. 27 July 2005. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  9. ^ Sullivan, Claire F. (2011). "Gender Verification and Gender Policies in Elite Sport Eligibility and "Fair Play"". Journal of Sport & Social Issues 35 (4): 400–419. doi:10.1177/0193723511426293. 
  10. ^ Hadfield, Warwick (5 March 2004). "I Am Woman !". Archived from the original on 5 April 2004. 
  11. ^ a b c Buzuvis, Erin E., "Transsexual and Intersex Athletes, in Sexual Minorities in Sports: Prejudice at Play," (Melanie L. Sartore-Baldwin, ed., Lynne Reinner Publishers, 2013).
  12. ^ "IOC approves consensus with regard to athletes who have changed sex". 17 May 2004. Archived from the original on 7 June 2004. Retrieved 22 April 2009. 
  13. ^ Cavanagh, Sheila L.; Sykes, Heather (2006). "Transsexual Bodies at the Olympics: The International Olympic Committee's policy on Transsexual Athletes at the 2004 Summer Games". Body & Society 12: 75–102. doi:10.1177/1357034x06067157. 
  14. ^ Pieper, Lindsay. "Is The Athlete "Right Or Wrong"?: Gender Regulation in Olympic Sport." International Olympic Academy: 87.
  15. ^ Crincoli, Shawn M. (2010). "You Can Only Race if You Can't Win-The Curious Cases of Oscar Pistorius & Caster Semenya". Tex. Rev. Ent. & Sports L. 12: 133. 
  16. ^ Geddes, Linda (16 July 2010). "Scant support for sex test on champion athlete". New Scientist. 
  17. ^ Vamplew, Wray (2007). "Playing with the rules: Influences on the development of regulation in sport" (PDF). The International Journal of the History of Sport 24 (7): 843–871. doi:10.1080/09523360701311745. 
  18. ^ Slot, Owen (20 August 2009). "Caster Semenya faces sex test before she can claim victory". The Times. 
  19. ^ Teetzel, Sarah (April 2006). "On transgendered athletes, fairness and doping: An international challenge". Sport in Society 9 (2): 227–251. doi:10.1080/17430430500491280. 

Further reading[edit]

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