Renee — the fascinating documentary by Eric Drath which is playing the Tribeca Film Festival — recounts the story of Richard Raskin, who in his 40s, had sexual reassignment surgery and emerged as the world’s most controversial tennis star, Renee Richards.
Renee’s troubled son later called this an incredibly selfish act, seeing as he felt betrayed and abandoned.
But Renee became a lightning rod for the public’s feelings toward transsexualism and helped move society forward on that topic, while enduring all kinds of jeering opposition.
In fact, she had to battle to play women’s tennis, validated by a court that decreed she was indeed female and should be allowed to continue.
But in the movie, today’s Renee, 76, takes a different tack.
Says she: “Transsexuals have every right to play, but maybe not on a professional level because it’s not a level playing field.”
In her 70s, she now stands for the reverse of what she represented in the ’70s!
Oh, well. She’s always been a fascinating character with a wicked serve and a will of steel.
As for the playing field of the boudoir, Renee says “I’ve had so many combinations of men and women, women and men…that I’ve had my fill.”
Sounds like fun. What a racket!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 22, 2011