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TRANSFER; Sex swop boxer bids to land knockout blow for the Green Party.

Byline: CHRISTINA STOKES

TRANSSEXUAL former boxer Ailsa Spindler has come out fighting as a candidate for the Green Party.

She is battling to win the Edinburgh West seat but has revealed that she used to be Austin Spindler, a married father-of-two and prize-winning boxing star.

Ms Spindler, 47, said: "My experience of life as a whole, of discrimination and of dealing with hostility, helps me to understand people and to represent them.

"But I don't want to run a personal campaign.

"One of the other candidates is from an ethnic minority and if we went down that route we could end up trying to compete on who has the worst discrimination story."

Born in Bath, Spindler grew up to be a talented athlete - winning prizes for canoeing, hot air ballooning and boxing.

He was once the executive officer for the Scottish Canoe Association. A member of the British Ballooning Team, he flew across the Alps, Kenya and Costa Rica.

Spindler moved to Kinross after marrying wife, Janieann, and the couple set up and ran their own firm, Flying Scot Balloons Ltd, which leased balloons for hire either for advertising or social trips. Their marriage crumbled seven years ago when Spindler, who once appeared on the television show Krypton Factor, admitted his true feelings about his sexuality.

The couple, who have two sons, separated, but did not divorce until May, 2001.

Austin began living as Ailsa, growing his hair, taking hormone tablets and undergoing a sex change operation.

His sex change became public when he arrived at court for a civil case he began as a man wearing high heels, a skirt and a blonde wig.

Ms Spindler now works as projects manager for Equality Network, a group which lobbies for equal rights for gays, lesbians and transexuals. She lives in Bonnington, West Lothian.

Ms Spindler said: "Equality is one of the reasons I became involved in the Green party. It's a very strong plank of their policy."

She is standing for the Edinburgh West seat currently held by Liberal Democrat John Barrett, who won a majority of 5,320 in the last election.

Other candidates include Navraj Ghaleigh (Lab), David Brogan (Con), Sheena Cleland (SNP) and Gary Clark (SSP).

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CHAMP: Austin was a prize-winning boxer before op
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 25, 2005
Words:379
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