Transgender golf coach Alison Perkins was forced to leave the World’s oldest golfing championship after being the subject of transphobic abuse and threats by members of the crowd in Kent England.
The incidents occurred during the first two days of The 149th Open Championship at Royal St George’s Golf Club while the coach was delivering coaching lessons to guests at the official ‘SwingZone’ area of the Spectator Village.
The first transgender golfer to have taken part in regional qualifying for the Open Championship has said she thought about “quitting golf” after members of the crowd made alleged transphobic comments.
Witnesses have described the comments directed towards Perkins as harassment.
“I am not going to go into details, but it was enough to make me leave,” Perkins relayed to The Telegraph in a statement.
“For me the decision to leave The Open and the PGA swing zone was the right one, as I need to be safe, keep my self-respect and manage the hurt and pain this causes in my own way,” Perkins continued in the statement.
“The golf is the only important thing this week. I am only one person. There are thousands enjoying the golf. Yes, a couple ruined it for me from a work, coaching and life experience. In my life I have had to fight many times to continue my journey to be a better me, coach and pro golfer… this is not worth the fight.”
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The R&A that conducts The Open Championship said that Alison was a valued member of the PGA’s Swingzone team and that they were deeply disturbed to have learned of the incident.
“We will be reaching out to Alison to offer our support and make it clear she is most welcome at The Open in future,” an R&A spokesperson said.
“We strongly believe that golf should be open to all and deplore any kind of discriminatory behaviour.”
The R&A’s stance was echoed by the PGA who Perkins represented at The Open.
“This is a very distressing incident and Alison has our full support at this difficult time,” the PGA Statement read.
“Alison has been an integral member of the Swingzone team delivering free golf lessons to the general public at The Open and has contributed a huge amount to its success this year as well as in previous years.
“She is a highly skilled and dedicated coach and is respected and admired by her colleagues and golfers alike. The well-being of our members is our primary focus and we will continue to support Alison.
“We enjoy a diverse membership of more than 8,000 PGA Professionals, who should all be free to work without fear of discrimination or prejudice.”
In a social media post, Perkins continued her philosophical stance about what had happened.
“Moving day at the Open, I think you are going to need to make some birdies to keep up today,” Perkins said on Twitter.
“The sun has set early on my Open, I enjoyed my last day, walking round watching the golf and the PGA swing zone. Sad to leave early but was the right decision for me, reflecting at home.
Moving day at the Open, I think you are going to need to make some birdies to keep up today.
The sun has set early on my Open, I enjoyed my last day, walking round watching the golf and the PGA swing zone. Sad to leave early but was the right decision for me, reflecting at home pic.twitter.com/Y1btWLW8Or
— Alison Perkins (@alisonpgapro) July 17, 2021
“A beautiful sunrise on the coast. Was 5am, and taking some time to think about life, while skimming stones, which is good for golf by the way. I will hopefully come back stronger one day. Its a tough journey I am on, trying to take the positives from the week not the negatives.”
Last Updated on Jul 18, 2021