Posted by Censor Librorum on Feb 2, 2007 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

There was an article yesterday in the “House & Home” section of the NY Times about Renee Richards. The unease of the reporter reminded me very much of the afternoon I met Renee Richards. Christine and I went along with a few gay male friends to a brunch at her home. Her place was beautiful and elegant, with a good view of the landscape off an outdoor patio. Renee Richards was tall and taut, well dressed, and obviously a lot more interested in the men that came with us then the two lesbians. She was flirting with them-I can’t remember if they flirted back. I dimly recall she seemed to be a little jealous of us, and was bitchy and dismissive in the way some women (or queens) can be as a put-down. I wondered if she had been a gay male before the sex change operation.

Around that time, she was one of Martina Navratilova’s tennis partners. Martina then as now was a major lesbian icon, role model and fantasy. She may have told us some Martina stories. Just to hear them would have been worth the trip.

A lingering feeling from that brunch has stayed in my memory. I looked at Renee Richards, woman to woman, and founding something…missing. She didn’t have curves, but neither do many wealthy women who starve and exercise themselves into being whippet thin with hard bodies. What I think was missing is a certain interior softness, a certain elusiveness. These are female qualities even the toughest butch can’t hide all the time, and which make women so desirable.

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