Japan’s world boxing champ struggles with gender identity

Go Shindo conquers bullying, alcoholism and suicidal thoughts to come out

Japan’s world boxing champ struggles with gender identity
28 September 2013

In May, 26-year-old Go Shindo, often likened to comic strip sailor Popeye’s girl Olive because of her scrawniness, became the world women’s boxing flyweight champion, thrashing defending champion Renata Szebeledi of Hungary.

However, that knockout was only part of Shindo’s battles.

After the victory, the 26-year-old remained seriously perturbed, wondering if she should continue to remain in women’s boxing since she felt like a man.

As a youngster, Shindo, born Megumi Hashimoto, was considered to be a tomboy, struggling to wear a skirt in school and falling in love with a senior girl student in high school.

She says she was bullied in university, was discriminated against, and tried to drown her sorrows and frustration in drinks. At one point, she also thought of killing herself.

When doctors told her she had gender identity disorder, Shindo left school and became a nocturnal creature, seeking the company of transgenders, lesbians and others struggling with the genders they were assigned at birth.

But after a word of advice from a kindly nightclub hostess, Shindo started ‘going public with her situation’, first telling her parents and then friends.

She also went back to sports, where she had always shone.

In 2007, she joined the Kuratoki Boxing Gym in Wakayama city and the next year, when Japan allowed women to become professional boxers, the head of the gym persuaded Shindo to have a go at it.

So the confused woman who wanted to be a firefighter became a boxer instead, going on to win the championship.

Shindo told the Japan Times that she had mulled undergoing sex-reassignment surgery and changing her sex in the family registry.

However, she decided to leave things as they are after her psychiatrist advised to take the plunge some day if ‘life is completely miserable’ but till then, with her future looking bright, she should not take any hasty decisions.

So for now, Shindo is trying to take things as they come, realizing that even if she has an operation and becomes a man, she is still likely to keep on facing discrimination.

‘I hope that when others see what I’m doing, they will also find the strength to hang in there and keep trying,’ she told the daily.




No thumbnail available

Teen boy comes out to his big sister, big sister is ridiculously cool

Has anyone ever so calmly wiped their face in the front of a life-changing moment before?
No thumbnail available

Russian TV personality Anton Krasovsky comes out as gay on the air and is fired

'I’m just the same person as you, my dear audience, as President Putin'
No thumbnail available

Pride named best British film of 2014

Gay actor Andrew Scott also won Best Supporting Actor at the British Independent Film Awards
No thumbnail available

Ira Sachs on his latest movie Love Is Strange

Writer/director Ira Sachs talks exclusively with Gay Star News about his inspirations and influences that shaped this delicate story.
No thumbnail available

The day I froze my stubborn fat away

Coolsculpting – or freezing away fat – got one dancer back on his feet
No thumbnail available

Watch Anderson Cooper respond to the pastor that accused him of having a 'gay agenda'

'All the gay people I know just want to live their lives with the same kinds of rights and responsibilities as everyone else.'
No thumbnail available

IOC officials seeking 'further clarification' from Russia on anti-gay laws and the Olympics

'We don't understand all the details because of probably a difficulty in translation'
No thumbnail available

Court grants Israel gay couple divorce for first time

An Israeli court has granted a divorce of a gay couple for the first time in the country's history
No thumbnail available

Simon Cowell: ‘I wish I was born gay’

Music mogul said he would have saved a 'fortune' if he had dated men instead of women
No thumbnail available

Uganda defiant in face of anti-gay bill aid cuts

Ugandan government spokesman Ofwono Opondo has continued his defence of the new anti-gay law on Twitter, saying the West ‘shouldn’t force homosexuality on Uganda’