Renée Richards’s Historic US Open Matches

Julie Kliegman at Bookforum:

RENÉE RICHARDS, eighty-seven, has admitted she has some regrets. Among them is that she never pitched for the New York Yankees, a job MLB scouts once seemed to think she had a real shot at.

Her contributions to the sports landscape, though, ended up being far greater than a few years in pinstripes. Had she played for the Yankees, she might never have had a sex change (her preferred term). Had she never had a sex change, she never would’ve had to fight tennis officials for a spot in the women’s draw of the 1977 US Open.

In Richards’s two autobiographies, Second Serve and No Way Renée, published in 1983 and 2007, respectively, she offers a glimpse into what it was like being a transsexual (also her term) in the 1970s—a time when trans people were met with derision, if they were acknowledged at all—even as it seems she’d rather be writing about almost anything else.

more here.