A 62-year-old is hoping to become the first trans woman to play with the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), after years of being unable to compete as she struggled to accept her own gender identity.
Dr Bobbi Lancaster competed in golf tournaments in her youth, and told USA Today: “I had a great game and a lot of length and a lot of talent, but you have to have a great mind to play at the highest of levels”.
She went on to say that there was “no question” her unaddressed gender dysphoria held her back from reaching her full potential, “not just in golf, but in every aspect of my life.”
She said she stopped competing while struggling with unhappiness throughout her medical career and two marriages, and felt depressed about how her children would feel if they knew of her gender identity issues.
“I didn’t want to screw with their heads,” she said. “I felt sinful, defective.”
Bobbi’s second wife, Lucy, began “snooping” after her then-husband became too depressed to attend medical practice. She discovered that Bobbi had written suicide notes, including one addressed to her, which revealed her gender confusion.
The revelation to Lucy and a near-fatal stroke prompted Bobbi to finally seek support, and gender reassignment therapy in 2010.
The decision tested his marriage to Lucy, who says she worried “I’m not a lesbian, but now will everyone think I am?”, but the couple remained together.
“It took a lot of soul searching on my part,” Lucy said. “It made me think about what is love, what makes a woman.”
Now Dr Lancaster is playing the Arizona Cactus Tour, and managed to place 25th in a tournament of mostly 20 to 30 year old women. Although she says she is still too strong to play with women in her age group, she fits in with the younger female golfers.
“[I'm] competitive with that age group,” she said. “I don’t feel I have any advantage. I’m fairly comfortable playing with them and they’ve embraced me.”
She hopes that if she does well in the Cactus Tour she will be able to vie for a place in the LPGA later this year.