Five famous transgender athletes

Caitlyn Jenner
Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner

Jenner has been hailed as the most famous openly transgender person in the world since she came out in 2015. Once dubbed "the greatest athlete in the world", Caitlyn Jenner is now more recognised as the quirky Kardashian dad of reality TV. A gold medal Olympic athlete, Jenner dominated the decathlon at the 1976 Games in Montreal, becoming an American hero. Her emergence, via a Vanity Fair magazine cover, prompted a re-examination of prejudices towards transgender people.


Caster Semenya

One of the most famous transgender athletes internationally. In 2009, after winning gold in the women's 800m, the IAAF began receiving e-mails from people who had doubts about Semenya's gender because of her "masculine look" and incredible speed. Tests were ordered and leaked results showed Semenya has no ovaries or a uterus. If the results are true, Semenya is intersex, and not transgender, as she is rumoured to possess both male and female genitalia.

Caster Semenya
Caster Semenya


Mianne Bagger

In 2004, by playing in the women's Australian Open, Mianne Bagger became the first openly transitioned woman to play professional on the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour, Bagger had gender-reassignment surgery in 1995. Before Caitlyn Jenner's coming out, many saw Bagger as the most prominent transgender athlete in professional sport.


Renee Richards

Although she didn't dominate the tennis world, Richards helped pave the way for trans athletes to compete in their chosen sports. Dr Richard Raskind was a pro tennis player and a renowned eye surgeon. But in 1975, after a highly-publicised sex reassignment operation, Renee Richards emerged. In a landmark decision in favour of transgender rights, the New York Supreme Court ruled in favour of Richards' right to compete as a woman after she was formerly barred from playing professionally.

Renee Richards. Photo / AP
Renee Richards. Photo / AP


Fallon Fox

Fox is the first openly transgender athlete in the history of MMA (mixed martial arts). After a stint in the military, Fox went to Thailand for "gender reassignment surgery" in 2006. She was forced to come out publicly in 2013 after a reporter indicated he knew she was transgender. Since then there has been considerable controversy over whether or not Fox possesses an advantage over other female fighters.

Fallon Fox
Fallon Fox

- NZ Herald

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