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Richards, Renee (b. 1934)  
page: 1  2  

She stressed that the problems she faces as a woman have less to do with her compelling need to "make right what nature didn't" than with the timing of her operation.

"I get a lot of letters from people in their 40s who are considering having this kind of operation. And I discourage all of them. It's not something for somebody in their 40s to do, someone who's had a life as a man. If you're 18 or 20 and have never had the kind of advantages I had, and you're oriented in that direction, sure, go ahead. . . . But if you're a forty-five-year-old man and you're an airline pilot and you have an ex-wife and three adolescent kids, you better get on Thorazine or Zoloft or Prozac or get locked up or do whatever it takes to keep you from being allowed to do something like this."

Yet to continue living as a male had seemed impossible: "I couldn't do it. Most people can't."

As a doctor, parent and tennis pro, Richards had been "a thorny problem for those who liked to think of transsexuals only as perverts dancing in sleazy bars," a puzzle that could not be solved by resorting to stereotype. This, she says, was the source of her "surprising popularity."

Richards, now the surgeon director of ophthalmology and head of the eye-muscle clinic at Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital in New York City, acknowledges that this popularity continues to haunt her. "Sure it bothers me," she says. "It bothers me that when I die, my obituary will read, 'Transsexual Tennis Player Dr. Renee Richards.' But there's nothing I can do about it."

Carolyn Kraus

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literature >> Overview:  Autobiography, Transsexual

Transgendered individuals have published autobiographies not only to tell or to clarify the stories of their lives, but also to educate others in an effort to gain greater acceptance for transgender people.

arts >> Overview:  Sports: Transgender Issues

Fears and misconceptions about transgendered and intersexed athletes abound.

arts >> Overview:  Transsexuality in Film

Representations of transsexuality in films range from freak-show exploitation, to dramatic and documentary depictions, to the use of transsexuality as a metaphor for exploring the crossing of all kinds of borders.

arts >> Navratilova, Martina

One of the greatest tennis players in history, Martina Navratilova has become an outspoken supporter of gay and lesbian rights.


Bassis, Lisa. "A Legal Conundrum: Transsexuals in Athletics." Comment, A Journal of Communications and Entertainment Law 2 (Spring 1978): 369-417.

Richards, Renee, with John Ames. Second Serve. New York: Stein and Day, 1983.

Shmerler, Cindy. "Regrets, She's Had a Few." Tennis 35.2 (March, 1999): 31-32.


    Citation Information
    Author: Kraus, Carolyn  
    Entry Title: Richards, Renee  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated April 10, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.  


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