Second set: for transgender tennis star Renee Richards, the generation gap looms larger than the gender gap. Her latest book, No Way Renee, continues the story of her "notorious" life.
Renee Richards walks gingerly down the gravel driveway of her upstate New York Upstate New York is the region of New York State north of the core of the New York metropolitan area. It has a population of 7,121,911 out of New York State's total 18,976,457. Were it an independent state, it would be ranked 13th by population. home. At 72, she's still active and fit, though a far cry from the imposing athlete who stalked the net at the 1977 U.S. Open, two years after her sex-change operation.
Richards became an unintentional hero when she was outed after an amateur tennis match in La Jolla, Calif. She was 41 years old and had no desire to turn pro. But when tennis officials preemptively told her she couldn't, Richards began a fight that would forever define her life.
"I was happy starting a practice in ophthalmology in California," she recalls. "Then they told me I couldn't play, and all of a sudden I became the world's activist for the sexually disenfranchised."
Transgender people today may turn up in Oscar-nominated films and smash-hit sitcoms, but in 1975 the very idea of gender reassignment was shocking. The sex-change operation of Christine Jorgensen had made international headlines two decades before. But for all intents and purposes Adv. 1. for all intents and purposes - in every practical sense; "to all intents and purposes the case is closed"; "the rest are for all practical purposes useless"
for all practical purposes, to all intents and purposes , Richards was alone.
"You have to put it in perspective," she says. "Nobody had ever heard of doing anything like this. I was big. I was tall. I was not as strong as the 20-year-old women I was playing, but I was imposing. I was a pariah."
Richards's newly released autobiography, No Way Renee The Second Half of My Notorious Life (Simon and Schuster) revisits stories from her best-selling 1983 memoir, Second Serve. She writes of growing up as Richard Raskin, a boy wearing his sister's clothes, the years-long struggle to have a sex-change operation, and the decision to challenge the United States Tennis Association “USTA” redirects here. For other uses, see USTA (disambiguation).
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the United States. for the tight to compete against women.
She then brings the stow up-to-date, sharing her bemused accommodation to an ever-changing world, her career as an ophthalmologist ophthalmologist /oph·thal·mol·o·gist/ (of?thal-mol´ah-jist) a physician who specializes in ophthalmology.
A physician who specializes in ophthalmology. , her drive to be a good father (Richards's word) to her son Nicky, and the search for love that continues today.
It's a story Richards is proud to tell and retell re·tell
tr.v. re·told , re·tell·ing, re·tells
1. To relate or tell again or in a different form.
2. To count again.
Verb 1. . And while she's not shy about recognizing the path she forged, she is hardly the firebrand fire·brand
1. A person who stirs up trouble or kindles a revolt.
2. A piece of burning wood.
Noun activist some would wish a transgender transgender or transgendered
Transsexual. poster child to be.
"I'm not an advocate," she says, reflecting on this publication's title. "I'm essentially a pretty passive person--a tennis player and a doctor. "I'm not politically or socially what ordinary people would call an activist."
Richards attributes much of her conventional thinking to her upper-crust education at Horace Mann college prep school in Riverdale, N.Y., and Yale in the 1950s, where she learned the traditional values that she adheres to today. For instance, while Richards believes everyone deserves the legal rights of marriage, she can't quite force herself to think of two women as "married."
"I was born in 1934. Marriage to me meant men and women," she admits. "I have two very close friends three houses up the road. They're lifetime partners and they don't call themselves married."
She quickly adds that they may be bound by the same generational conventions she learned. "They're in their 50s. If they were in their 20s, they'd be demanding it. I know that," she says.
For her part, Richards thinks transgender people should not be able to compete at the highest levels, a belief she realizes undermines everything she accomplished. She suggests transgender females like Canadian mountain biker Michelle Dumaresq and Danish golfer Mianne Bagger play at club events rather than on national teams.
"The U.S. Olympic Committee has decreed in all of its great glory and intelligence that transsexuals can play in the Olympics if two years have passed since their operations--I think that's going to come back to haunt them," she says.
It's not new thinking. Transgender athletes today confront many of the same arguments Richards did 35 years ago. What constitutes gender? Are transgender people fair competition in women's sports? Which locker room do they use?
In the clamor Richards endured during her battle to compete athletically against women, she heard little complaint from the one group you'd expect, her competition.
"I called her and said, 'Can I come listen to you and your story? At least meet you,'" remembers Billie Jean King Noun 1. Billie Jean King - United States woman tennis player (born in 1943)
Billie Jean Moffitt King, King . "She said sure. I was there for four hours."
"When I look back on it, I'd say it was a remarkably warm welcome," Richards says. "It's not just that they were willing to play me; some of them have stayed close friends to this day. Wendy Turnbull, Virginia Wade, Ilana Kloss, Martina [Navratilova] and Billie Jean and Mary Carillo-they're all very good friends of mine."
King filed an affidavit in court supporting Richards's entry into the U.S. Open. In 1981, Navratilova asked Richards to join her team of coaches as she prepared her epic rivalry with Chris Evert. Nineteen years later Navratilova would insist that Richards induct in·duct
To produce an electric current or a magnetic charge by induction. her into the International Tennis Hall of Fame The International Tennis Hall of Fame is a non-profit tennis hall of fame and museum at the Newport Casino in Newport, Rhode Island, USA. Mission
"The International Tennis Hall of Fame is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, inspiring .
"Here are the two greatest of all time in my court," says Richards. "And they had everything to lose."
"After she won the lawsuit, the players were freaking freak·ing
adv. & adj. Slang
Used as an intensive: Traffic was a freaking nightmare.
[Alteration of frigging, present participle of frig.] out," says King. "I said, You guys, she's a woman, so she's playing. Get over it.'"
Some of the details of Richards's life are confounding confounding
when the effects of two, or more, processes on results cannot be separated, the results are said to be confounded, a cause of bias in disease studies.
confounding factor , others surreal, and a few seemingly self-sabotaging. When Richards sought counsel for her fight against the USTA USTA United States Tennis Association
USTA United States Telecom Association
USTA United States Trotting Association
USTA United States Telephone Association
USTA United States Twirling Association
USTA United States Trademark Association , she chose closeted clos·et·ed
Being In a state of secrecy or cautious privacy. gay, homophobic, McCarthyist lawyer Roy Cohn. When she decided to begin her new life as a woman, she opted to live in Orange County, Calif., which hasn't voted for a Democrat in a presidential election since FDR's second term. The John Wayne Tennis Club was her local court.
In March 1999, Tennis magazine published an article titled "Regrets, She's Had a Few," implying this included her sex-reassignment surgery. Although Richards adamantly denies this is true, she admits to wishing it had not been necessary.
"I realize it's remarkable," she says. "[But] I would rather have not had this overwhelmingly diverse experience of being able to live half of my life as a man My Life As a Man (1974) is American writer Philip Roth's seventh novel. The novel is split into two sections: the first, "Useful Fictions," consists of two short stories about a character named Nathan Zuckerman (although he shares a name with the character that would inhabit and half of my life as a woman. I would rather I were not born or imprinted into being a transsexual trans·sex·u·al
A person who strongly identifies with the opposite gender and who chooses to live as a member of the opposite gender or to become one by surgery.
1. Of or relating to such a person.
2. . Absolutely."
Richards acknowledges the effect she's had on transgender people and society at large. But that doesn't mean she approves of it.
"I don't even like the word transgendered transgendered adjective Relating to a person who has undergone genital/sexual reassignment surgery Transgender health issues Hormonal therapy, cosmetic surgery, fertility options–eg, egg and sperm banking. See Sexual reassignment. Cf Transsexual. . I didn't have a gender operation; I had a sex change. Now there's a new thing that the transgendered want to have their birth certificates changed so they can be women without having an operation. So it's all my fault."
Giltz is a regular contributor to several periodicals, including the New York Post The New York Post is the 13th-oldest newspaper published in the United States and the oldest to have been published continually as a daily. Since 1976, it has been owned by Australian-born billionaire Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and is one of the 10 .
Do transgender athletes have an unfair advantage in competitive sports? You tell us. Here's how Renee Richards and Martina Navratilova compared when they were at the 1977 U.S. Open. RENEE RICHARDS Age 42 Height 6 feet 1 inch Weight 147 pounds Previous U.S. Open tournaments none Serve left Seed none Result lost in first round MARTINA NAVRATILOVA Age 20 Height 5 feet 7 1/2 inches Weight 155 pounds Previous U.S. Open tournaments four Serve left Seed 2 Result lost in semifinals Figures from the United States Tennis Association