Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Word comes via Women and Hollywood that Renée, a doc on tennis coach/ophthalmologist Renée Richards is doing the festival circuit in the USA.

Richards, born Richard Raskind, was undoubtedly the first transsexual person of whom I was aware, and her struggles to play on the women's tennis tour after sex change surgery became tabloid fodder. Her becoming a coach to Martina Navratilova, my favourite player, only added fuel to the fire and increased my admiration for her.

As a teen, I remember reading Richards' autobiography, Second Serve (later turned into a TV movie), and being surprised that both Richard and Renée were actively heterosexual. Most confusing to an adolescent, but evidence of the wonderful multiplicity of human behaviour.

Sounds like things didn't go so smoothly between Renée and her son, mentioned in the book as preferring her to dress in men's garb when they had a visit. They later became estranged and the film explores their painful relationship, too. Let's hope the film makes it to this side of the pond.

I couldn't find any video relating to the doc, but here's a clip of Vanessa Redgrave from the TV film.

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