Transgender golf coach, Alison Perkins, was forced to leave a golf competition on Saturday (17 July) due to transphobic abuse.
According to a report from Sky Sports, Perkins was giving fans in the spectator zone lessons during The Open competition. At the end of her lesson, attendees started to throw insults at the golf professional.
Shortly after the incident, Perkins opened up about the hurtful interaction in an interview with the Telegraph.
“Yes, it has hurt and caused so much distress,” she said. “It only takes a few in thousands to do harm and it can take me a while to recover from this sort of thing.”
“However, I like to draw on the good and not the bad. I will fight and be back at some point. I am about portraying the positive in my life.”
Perkins went on to say that she has “many battles” in her life and referred to the incident as “not worth it.”
“These people just don’t understand, know the facts or realise how much they can affect someone’s life,” she explained. “I did think about quitting golf yesterday but hey, it’s what I love, so don’t let them win.”
Since that day, support for the coach has been widespread amongst the golf organizations.
A spokesperson for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club (R&A) released a statement to Sky Sports in support of Perkins.
“Alison is a valued member of the PGA’s Swingzone team and we are deeply disturbed to have learned of the incident earlier this week,” they said.
“We will be reaching out to Alison to offer our support and make it clear she is most welcome at The Open in the future. We strongly believe that golf should be open to all and deplore any kind of discriminatory behaviour.”
The Professional Golfer’s Association (PGA) also released a statement condemning the incident and transphobic abuse.
“This is very distressing incident and Alison has our full support at this difficult time,” they said.
“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.
“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 regards to the future, Perkins took to social media to let her followers know she hasn’t let the negative people get her down.
“I enjoyed my last day, walking around watching the golf and the PGA swing zone. Sad to leave early but was the right decision for me, reflecting at home,” she said.
“I will hopefully come back stronger one day. It’s a tough journey I am on, trying to take the positives from the week, not the negatives.”
Earlier this year, Perkins made LGBTQ+ history when she became the first trans woman to compete in the Regional Qualifying for The Open.
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. pic.twitter.com/5A1VV9wqcF
— Alison Perkins (@alisonpgapro) July 17, 2021