Before Renée Richards became a star of the professional women’s tennis circuit, she was a nice Jewish boy—the puritz, or prince, of her household. Richards was born in 1934 as Richard Raskind, known to everyone as Dick. The child of two doctors in Forest Hills, Queens, Dick spent weekends fetching tennis balls for his father on dirt courts by the Long Island Railroad tracks.
In public, Dick was a self-assured athlete, captain of the Yale tennis team and one of a small number of Jews picked for his fraternity. But he had begun surreptitiously dressing up in his sister’s clothes at age 9. In the privacy of his college dorm, he shaved his legs and disguised his genitals, urgently trying to give life to his female side