Mianne Bagger Transsexual Golfer
Danish born man, turned Australian transsexual woman, Mianne Bagger has left one thing in tact and that’s her love of golf.
Born in Copenhagen, Denmark on Christmas day in 1966, 42 year old Mianne started playing golf at the age of 8 in her home country of Denmark. Mianne was passionate about her new found sport and played regularly, even attending golfing clinics to hone her skills. In 1980 at the age of 14, Mianne attended one such clinic hosted by Australia’s Greg Norman. Her family moved between England and Denmark and in 1979 the family relocated to Adelaide Australia. Mianne continued her golf, practicing 4-6 times a week and got down to a 4 handicap.
Bagger never considered herself a man, to the point where she became suicidal. It wasn’t until Mianne was 18 years old that she confided her feelings. Bagger says “There seems to be a misconception in society that one day we (transsexuals) just wake up and think, 'I'm going to have a sex-change today'," she said.”I have always known there was something different about me since I was young -- we are born this way.” Bagger also refuses to reveal her birth name, so for all intensive purposes, transsexual Mianne is and has always been a woman.
Mianne underwent 2 years of hormone replacement therapy before her gender reassignment surgery in 1995 and says of the experience “That feeling of laying on the hospital bed, just going in for surgery, was like ‘my god, I can’t believe this is finally about to happen.’”
In 1998, Bagger returned to golf as an amateur in South Australia causing a media hubbub. There are no rules to prohibit a transsexual/transgender athlete in the Australian Women’s Golf Association, so Mianne was perfectly within her right to play. Perhaps if Mianne wasn’t very good at golf then the scandal wouldn’t have been quite as interesting, however Mianne went on to win the South Australian Championships 3 times; in 1999, 2001 and 2003. After joining South Australia’s state team and achieving the ranking of 6th in Australia, Bagger turned pro in 2003.
At the 2004 Women’s Australian Golf Open, Mianne made history, becoming the first transsexual woman to ever play in a professional golf tournament. Bagger hit 84 on the first day and 74 on the second. One can assume that the media frenzy on the first day could have contributed to her poor first round and was cut after her second round tally of +14. When Golf Australia returned the Women’s version of the Australian Open in 2007, Bagger competed but missed the cut and again in 2008.
The ever progressive European countries have welcomed Bagger to compete on their tours; however the US PGA, which has a strict 'must be born as a woman' ruling, is far less tolerable to change. Mianne has played on the Swedish Telia tour and the Ladies European Tour.
Bagger has said that one day she hopes to be seen as more than 'the transsexual' golfer. Stating "My sexuality is just one of the obstacles I'm going to have to face, what people have to realize is that plenty of men and women out there are transsexuals".
As a note: The IOC recognized transsexual athletes in 2004, however since women’s golf hasn’t been played since the 1900 Paris France Olympic Games, that point is mute.
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