Frank Maloney, a former boxing promoter in Britain, came out on Sunday at the age of 61 and introduced to the world his new identity - Kellie Maloney. He was behind the boxing career of former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.
Kellie appeared in Britain's Sunday Mirror and admitted she is anticipating a tough response to her revelation from the macho sport of boxing, although it turned out that many supported her decision to undergo gender reassignment.
One of those who supported Maloney is Lewis himself, who admitted initial shock but said he respected his former promoter's decision. "I was just as shocked as anyone at the news about my former promoter and my initial thought was that it was a wind-up," Lewis said in a statement.
He added, "The great thing about life, and boxing, is that, day-to-day, you never know what to expect ... The world we live in isn't always cut and dried, or black and white, and coming from the boxing fraternity, I can imagine what a difficult decision this must be for [Maloney]."
At the end of Lewis's statement was the hashtag #LiveAndLetLive as he concluded, "I respect Kellie's decision and say that, if this is what brings about true happiness in her life, than so be it."
Maloney was married twice and has three daughters. She said, "I wasn't born to the right body. I have always known I was a woman. I can't keep living in the shadows."
As part of his gender reassignment preparation, Maloney - who said she has felt different since childhood - started hormone treatment, hair removal procedure, voice coaching and specialist counseling as part of the NHS guidelines that a transsexual must spend two years as a female before he would qualify for corrective surgery.
According to The Telegraph, Maloney, after the collapse of his marriage, tried to commit suicide by drinking a mixture of alcohol and prescription pills as he struggled living a secret life.
While coming out to his wife and daughters was a very difficult experience for Maloney, it was a different case for his mum Maureen, who even joked, "Why didn't you come [out] to me when you were younger? All we had to do was change the "i" to an "e" in your name, Francis."
Maloney, known for his Union Flag suits, secretly dressed as a woman but threw the clothes away after trying them for fear of being caught. He later visited an underground dressing-up service in Dublin that gave him a makeover and let him appear like a female for a few hours.
He retired from boxing in October 2013 after spending 30 years in the sport as promoter.
While U.S. boxing promoter Don King had belittled Maloney as a mental midget, others in the athletic world had kinder words for their colleague. Former super heavyweight champion Alex Arthur said Frank is a good and kind person "in a world of selfish, horrible, cut-throat pimps."
Eric Hall, a football promoter and being a close friend of Maloney, tweeted, "So Frank Maloney has swapped boxing gloves for chiffon gloves! Jokes aside he's an old mate and it took guts to come out. Good luck Kellie."