As a boxing promoter, Frank Maloney is primarily famous for guiding Lennox Lewis to the world heavyweight title. He also managed four other fighters throughout their careers to the world title along with a string of British, European and Commonwealth champions. Maloney is held in high regard in the sports industries and is well respected by his former clients, who have expressed their support following Maloney’s recent challenge.
The sixty one year-old has recently admitted to his family, friends, former colleagues and the mainstream media that he was born transgender, is now living as a woman and plans to have gender reassignment surgery in the near future. In a statement, Kellie said he was far from born into the right body, ‘I have always known I was a woman’. Now known as Kellie, Maloney admits that she thought the response from the sports industries would be challenging, however almost all reactions were extremely supportive and respectful of her choice to reveal her true identity. In a recent statement, Lennox Lewis said that he has a lot of ‘respect’ for Maloney in this decision. Maloney stated that she decided to keep her sexual identity secret for so long due to the nature of the boxing industry, however these recent events may mark an alteration of this view.
The fact that Maloney has revealed her status as a woman and the boxing and sporting industries have expressed deep support, might act as a productive example of how individuals in society may behave towards such challenges. By bringing the issue into the limelight, Maloney raises awareness about the challenging aspects of experiencing transgender issues. Additionally, it might be said that her story somewhat breaks the mould in regard to traditional stories of gender reassignment; Maloney is famous for his place in one of the industries perhaps thought least likely to experience this kind of coverage. This fact allows the awareness of the subject to spread into territory it may have previously gone un-noted.
The celebrity status of this coverage additionally allows for further positive role modeling, through the iconic image of Lennox Lewis, whose open-minded, accepting response might allow his fans to revere such behavior. In a recent Tweet, Lewis stated: ‘Having taken some time to read Kellie’s statements, I understand better what she and others in similar situations are going through. I think that all people should be allowed to live their lives in a way that brings them harmony and inner peace.’ […] ‘I respect Kellie’s decision and say that if this is what brings about true happiness in her life then so be it #LiveAndLetLive’
Additionally, Maloney’s fans may also take a more informed and open-minded view of the issue. The fact that these supportive and accepting messages are distributed globally via mediums such as social media platforms allows the acceptance to travel further afield, allowing these views and opinions to be interpreted by many, accepted and celebrated.
The response to Maloney’s gender change may indicate that the beliefs and values of many have become much more accepting and diverse. This, in turn allows for the view that the UK is becoming more open-minded, enjoying a society where individuals of all sexualities can live alongside each other whilst far from being judged by their identities.
Maloney’s story may aims to encouragement other individuals experiencing similar challenging events to come forward and may prevent individuals from concealing their identities for as long as she did, instead providing them with the courage that their status may be accepted, respected and celebrated.
What are the productive aspects to famous people bringing more awareness to issues such as transgender, gay or other sexual preferences?