Gabrielle Ludwig becomes first transsexual to play college basketball as both man and woman!
Gabrielle Ludwig has become the first transsexual to play basketball for an American college as both man and woman.
Ludwig, who joined Mission College's Lady Saints as a mid-season walk-on, had a sex reassignment surgery over the summer, and has been living as a woman and taking female hormones since 2007.
The 50-year-old transsexual, Army veteran, father and Mission College freshman has been helping coach and working out with the Saints since the beginning of the school year, but she only received conference clearance to compete on the last day of November, the New York Daily News reports.
"I got exactly what I always wanted, just to fit in and be normal like everyone else," Ludwig said.
According to the report, introduced to the sport as an impressively tall 7th grade boy, she played on her high school team as Robert John Ludwig, then one season at a community college on Long Island in New York. After she dropped out, her court appearances were limited to pickup games.
The basketball bug returned 12 years ago, when her daughter from her second marriage, then 7, started playing youth basketball and Ludwig signed on as her coach. Her transition from a male coach to a female coach five years ago raised questions, but parents generally accepted her decision warmly, the report said.
What the naysayers do not know is that Ludwig is not the same player she was as a 24-year-old male. She has less muscle and height, because of female hormones she takes. And at her age, she has to work to keep up, the report added.
"Yeah, I hit with a little more punch down low, but that's because I weigh 220 pounds, but I am not the only 220 woman out there. It's different now. My body has changed, my strength has changed, my attitude has changed," she said.
Ludwig, who turns 51 this month, acknowledged that part of her motivation for playing women's basketball was to be a role-model for transgender youth.
"If men think that women's basketball is easy, let them spend a day out here and get their butt kicked," she said.