ESPN Films: Renee
"Renee" tells the story of Renee Richards' battle to enter the 1977 U.S. Open as the first transgender tennis player. Simultaneously, it follows her today as she struggles to cope with a life of contradictions and personal conflict. Through interviews with tennis legends, family, friends and experts from the transgender field, a story of perseverance, breakthrough and hardship unfolds.
MEET THE DIRECTOR
Eric Drath is a former journalist ...
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"Renee," airs Oct. 4 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
I remember hearing as a little boy that Renée Richards was playing in the U.S. Open. My parents were tennis fans, and we lived in New York, so the Open was a big deal. What made it stranger was that just four years earlier, my sister had gone to see Dr. Richard Raskind for an eye problem. Now, somehow that same person was strutting onto the main court of the U.S. Open in a skirt as a woman named Renée Richards.
However strange the incident appeared, my parents spoke in hushed voices about it, and the subject quickly disappeared from our family's dinner table conversation. But I never forgot about it, and, from time to time, I would wonder about Renée Richards. Why did Dr. Raskind become a woman? How did they let Renée play tennis? And what happened to her after she disappeared from everyone's dinner table conversations?
When I started to research Renée's life further, I found out she had a son who is almost the same age as myself. "Wow," I thought again. Having a father who had a sex change, and then played tennis on the main court of the U.S. Open. What was that like? So began my journey into this story. I got in touch with Renée, and she agreed to let me into her remarkable life. -- Eric Drath
- • Renee
-- ESPN2: 10:30 p.m.
- • Renee
-- ESPN Classic: 1:45 a.m., 5 p.m.