The sudden rise of World War T after victory in World War G has been one of the funnier test cases of my model of how the dominant paradigms work. Thus, we’ve been besieged with stories based on the premise that the transgendered are all gentle, helpless victims of bullying by Straight White Males.
And yet, I first noticed the onrushing World War T in an NYT story about an ex-man who was complaining about discrimination in not being allowed to beat up women in Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s bouts. Indeed, many of the highest profile Transformers have tended to be two-fisted macho men habituated to beating down any obstacles in their paths.
Not all of them are jerks. For example, the elderly travel writer James-Jan Morris is a charming David Niven-like WWII British Army officer. I read Morris’s memoir “Conundrum” 20 years ago, and noticed that Morris had to be lying about the “I always felt like a girl on the inside part.” Morris, pre and post, was no more a girl on the inside than Niven. I once gave my father a Jan Morris travel book on some place we’d gone. He remarked that he’d enjoyed it, but was surprised to see on the last page that Jan Morris is a woman because it sure seemed like it was written by a man.
Now, here’s the funniest example yet of this pattern.
From the Independent:
Once-pugnacious manager of Lennox Lewis stuns boxing world with sex change revelation
ADAM LUSHER Sunday 10 August 2014
After 30 years in the macho world of boxing, the former fight promoter Frank Maloney has revealed that he is undergoing a sex change and living as a woman called Kellie.
Kellie, 61, once the pugnacious manager of the former world heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis, said that she has undergone hormone therapy and is now more than a year into the transition to becoming a woman.
“I was born in the wrong body and have always known I was a woman,” she said. “I have a female brain. I knew I was different from the minute I could compare myself to others.
“I never felt comfortable doing boys’ things, playing boys’ games. But I buried myself in them to make sure I wasn’t seen as different.”
A common trait of mental illness is retconning your psychological history. People who develop paranoia can suddenly recall how they’ve always been conspired against. Depressed people feel like they’ve always been depressed.
And to some extent, that tends to be true. Mental illnesses generally don’t come wholly out of the blue, but are instead exacerbations of mild symptoms long present. People who turn into full blown paranoiacs often tend to be suspicious and uneasy when they were younger.
Senility starts out similar. You’ll notice that Shelley Sterling’s successful legal maneuver to take Donald Sterling’s basketball team away from him was based on the contention that he was going senile and had suddenly changed. And yet Sterling has been the same for decades: a bumptious egomaniacal publicity hound. All that had changed was that in his eighties he’d lost the step that let him get away with it, and now he’d gone from exploiter to exploited.
Probably a lot of middle-aged tough guys who become ill and decide they are women always had some kind of transvestite fetish they had mostly kept under control in their primes, just as people who think they are Napoleon likely always had some fascination with power.
Frank Maloney grew up as a Millwall-supporting
As a commenter notes, this reference is intended to explain what Maloney was like when young: supporters of the Millwall soccer team were perhaps the most notorious for hooliganism of all the soccer fans in England, which is saying a lot. But of course he always felt like a little girl on the inside, even when putting the boot in.
south Londoner, became a boxer and then a trainer, and achieved greatest success while working with Lewis, who became a world champion in 1992.
Having also managed the former world cruiserweight champion David Haye, Maloney appeared fearless, tough-talking and flamboyant, with a fondness for going to fights in Union Jack suits.
But Kellie, who gave her interview to the Sunday Mirror wearing a dress and stilettos, said she was constantly fighting the urge to dress as a woman. “Mentally I was tearing myself apart.” …
The twice-married father of three quit as a boxing promoter last October, saying he had “fallen out of love with boxing” .
She admits now that she was preparing to withdraw from the public gaze so she could continue with a gender transition that had begun in her final year of managing boxers.
In the past two years, she has had hormone therapy, hair removal electrolysis, voice coaching and counselling.
She told her wife Tracey about her desire to become a woman in 2012. “We were standing in the kitchen and I said, ‘I have to tell you that I have lived with this all my life. I’ve lived a lie and I really am a female in my head.’
“We are very good friends now. She is very supportive and very loyal to me.”
A sportswriter adds:
Comment: As brave – and mad – as some of his fighters
By Steve Bunce, Boxing Correspondent
Frank Maloney loved a fight on both sides of the ropes, and in 50 years in the boxing world he had plenty. He won most of them. He now has one more battle to overcome after announcing that he is undergoing a sex change.
He walked away from the boxing business last October and vanished, until he emerged yesterday on the front page of a paper with a new hairstyle, a new name and a gentler voice. Kellie looks much better than Frank did, to tell the truth.
It has been a terrible five years for Maloney, with heart attacks, separation from his beloved second wife, a suicide attempt, the death of his father and the discovery of arguably his last great fighter, Darren Sutherland, hanged in a south London bedsit in 2009. Maloney was the first person through the door and has never recovered.
Maloney overcame each terrible setback and problem with the same determination that had seen him go head-to-head with Don King and boxing’s other powerbrokers during his 15 years with Lennox Lewis; the pair went from virtual obscurity to the heavyweight world title on their terms in one of boxing’s greatest partnerships.
Over the past 25 years, I have been in a dozen boxing outposts with Maloney, some exotic and some diabolical, and the revelation was shocking. It had some of the usual Maloney flourishes, and as I read it I had to smile. I sent Kellie a text to tell her that she was brave. “It could be plain mad,” she replied, which is true, and the old Frank never much cared for rules or what people thought about him.
There had been rumours back in June, but nobody believed it. Maloney, you see, was a veteran and an expert in the brutal business of boxing. The old Maloney was a throwback, operating at all levels from running pubs with boxing gyms above the bars to guiding fighters to world titles and riches. He was at the centre of a savage, macho world and he seldom put a foot wrong – now we know he was talking to a counsellor and buying women’s clobber.
Maloney managed and trained some stupidly brave fighters, men who took terrible risks in a fearless business, and yesterday morning the trainee priest, apprentice jockey, amateur fighter, promoter, publican and manager of fighting men showed that she was their equal. Well done, Kellie.