Monday 13 April 2015

Renee Richards Transgender Bio Film

In 1986 Renee Richards autobiography was turned into a TV movie which stared Vanessa Redgrave, playing both the male and female side of Renee.

This is a wonderful movie and was one of the first films about the subject that I saw. As far as I'm aware this film was only released on VHS back in the 1980's and has since disappeared. Vanessa Redgrave's performance is perfect. The film really does show the struggle and frustration of gender dysphoria.

Here is the synopsis from IMDB for Second Serve

Fact-based story about tennis pro Renee Richards, whose player status was challenged in 1976 when it was revealed that she was a transsexual. Flashback to 1964 and meet Richard Radley, a successful New York doctor with a great lifestyle, a flashy girl friend, and a secret life. Seems like the good doctor likes to dress up in women's clothes and visit Manhattan. His psychiatrist mother refuses to deal with him and sends him to a colleague who diagnoses with a psychotic gender confusion, which he says can be unlearned. After a failed marriage and fatherhood, he gives in to the transsexual operation and becomes Renee for good with a new life in California.

Here is a clip of the film :

In 2008 Renee Richards published a follow up bio called 'No Way Renee', which covers the second half of her life from where her story ends with the film.
The book can be purchased from Amazon

Richards looks back and speaks frankly about all aspects of her complicated and often notorious life in this eye-opening, thought-provoking memoir. Richards' honest and compelling narrative explores the dichotomy between the successful life she lived as Dr. Richard Raskind, who seemed to have everything (devoted friends, a beautiful wife and son, a stellar record of academic and professional achievement, and outstanding athletic ability), and a secret life of struggle with a drive that could not be suppressed, even by years of psychotherapy and the force of a considerable will.

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