Legendary Boxing Manager and Promoter Kellie Maloney Comes Out as a Trans Woman

Boxing is considered by many to be a great bastion of maleness and masculinity, but that wasn’t enough to stop Kellie Maloney from living the life she knew that she had to. In an exclusive interview with The Mirror, the legendary boxing manager and promoter came out and revealed that she has been undergoing hormone therapy and taking other steps in her transition for the past two years. At the age of 61, she is boldly stepping forward and announcing to the world that she has felt this way since she was a child and is finally ready to make this transition.

Maloney via The Mirror

Maloney via The Mirror

Born in London, England to Irish parents, Maloney has been a part of the boxing world since she was in school. She started her career as a promoter and manager in the 80s and quickly rose to prominence while managing the boxer Lennox Lewis. Maloney is considered one England’s all-time great boxing managers and promoters, and in 1992, helped Lewis to become the undisputed World Heavyweight Campion and eventually one of Britain’s most legendary boxers. She worked with Lewis until 2001 and also guided four other boxers to world titles. In 2009 she celebrated 25 years as a boxing promoter and was named the 2009 European Promoter of the Year.

Lewis reached out to his former manager on his facebook page to offer his support, saying that although at first he was confused, he stands behind Maloney.

This world we live in isn’t always cut and dried or black and white, and coming from the boxing fraternity, I can only imagine what a difficult decision this must be for Kellie (formerly Frank Maloney).

However, having taken some time to read Kellie’s statements, I understand better what she, and others in similar situations, are going through. I think that ALL people should be allowed to live their lives in a way that brings them harmony and inner peace.

I respect Kellie’s decision and say that if this is what brings about true happiness in her life, than so be it. ‪#‎LiveAndLetLive‬

Unfortunately, apart from boxing, Maloney was at one point involved in politics, where she made several homophobic remarks. When asked why she didn’t campaign in Camden, she said that there were “too many gays” there. She later backed up her comments by saying that “I don’t want to campaign around gays… I don’t think they do a lot for society… what I have a problem with is them openly flaunting their sexuality.” Hopefully that opinion is a thing of the past.

Maloney retired from boxing in 2013, saying that she had lost her love for the sport, but now admits that the real reason was so that she could pursue her transition. She also said that she had been dealing with depression and alcohol abuse due to hiding her transness for years. She thought that as long as she was involved in the world of boxing, she would never be able to be the person she knew she was inside.

My life was spiraling out of control. I was finding it harder to contain my desire. I was now doing the boxing ­business through instinct and memory. I used to shut myself away in the office. Thankfully, I had some good staff around me.

But I was very unhappy. My temper was getting worse. I was determined it wouldn’t beat me, but I knew it would always be there.

As shown by the support she received from Lewis and others, it seems like the boxing and sporting worlds are a little more progressive than she thought (although many of them need to learn a thing or two about misgendering). Hopefully, Maloney will be able to find even more support in the days and years to come, and other trans people will see her as an inspiration to come out themselves.

Addendum: It has been pointed out to me that her involvement in politics was more insidious than I had written about. When she ran for Mayor of London as a member of the UKIP, some of her major platforms involved fighting for racist, xenophobic and fascist causes. Obviously coming out as trans does not excuse these actions or opinions, especially if she still holds them. Being trans does not make you a hero, and it’s important that we don’t ignore the other parts of her life. While I do hope that her story inspires other trans people to come out, I also hope very much that it doesn’t inspire anyone to hold the same social or political views that she does.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Mey Rude is a fat, trans, Latina lesbian living in LA. She's a writer, journalist, and a trans consultant and sensitivity reader. You can follow her on twitter, or go to her website if you want to hire her.

Mey has written 572 articles for us.


  1. “what I have a problem with is them openly flaunting their sexuality.” A very unhelpful, but probably honest opinion. I often wonder how many people who express similar feelings are envious that they have to hide a fundamental part of themselves which others seem to be able to display and even show pride in

  2. Could her pats comments be chocked up to internalized homophobia? Out of curiosity, is she married or single?

  3. There are a lot of closeted people who express internalized homophobia or transphobia… so she’s not unique in that regard. But, IMO, neither does transitioning automatically get her off the hook from what she previously said. She was in a public sphere, and those remarks have a even more hurtful impact when said by a well known person especially when said by someone in a sport which centered on violence. I have empathy for her as I do any trans person or someone who’s deep in the closet, but she needs to come clean about her past attitudes. She could have a positive benefit helping other deeply closeted misogynists and homophobes understand some of where their messed up attitudes are coming from.

    • And according to some Brit commenter on the Backlot, Maloney still holds the same views which blows my mind. Yay, for coming out as trans but major BOO to misogyny and homophobia. I wish I had something more positive to say but I can’t.

    • Naw, fuck her. I was closeted for a long time too, and I never ran for mayor of London with a Holocaust denier managing my political campaign. There’s no evidence that she’s currently any less right-wing and fucked-up than she’s ever been. Also, the way she talks out her transition is extremely medically-oriented, essentialist, and conventional. . .it’s about the most conservative way I can imagine someone describing their transness while still acting on it rather than repressing it. So I doubt she’s changed, at all.

  4. I wish I was a bigger person but I can’t cheer her on right now. Coming out as trans doesn’t make those horrible things she said just go away. She needs to apologize for them. I mean it wasn’t even “just” being against gay marriage, she actually (without needing to even talk about gay people) said she didn’t want to go to a city because there were to many gay people and she didn’t want to talk to them?! I’m sorry, but just no. No, no, no. Not okay in any way. She needs to apologize.

  5. More to the point, I think, than just that she said some really homophobic stuff was that she said it while campaigning for the ever-lovely UK Independence Party who basically stand on a platform of racism, sexism, homophobia and old-school British fascism. Like, as a trans woman I think it’s great to see high profile people come out, especially from hypermasculine subcultures like boxing ‘cos that’s incredibly brave and must’ve been incredibly difficult for her, but tbh unless she actually denounces her affiliations with that kinda stuff I think we can find better figure in our community to celebrate :/

    • For sure. I also find it hilarious how pretty much every article I’ve read about Maloney’s transition has totally purged any mention of her association with far right political groups. So a media that frequently can’t respect trans women enough to get our pronouns right is more than willing to do PR for a pretty much fascist trans woman by omitting any mention of her fucked up political history. Or maybe it’s just the “OMG buff boxing dude becomes a chick–and we’ll tell you all the gory details!!” story ark is too delicious to resist. . .or to dilute with facts.

  6. Really disappointed in the fact that this doesn’t even mention the fact that she’s an UKIP member and ran as Mayor of London and MP for them and just brushes it off as “involvement with politics”. Both times racism and xenophobia were an important part of her electoral message. Her website is down and I can’t find cached versions, but if you google it a bunch of websites quote her saying on her campaign website that:

    ‘Immigrants are not integrating with the rest of British society but creating their own areas, where the rule of law does not apply and people have no allegiance to Britain whatsoever – and even seek to harm British people.’

    It was important to mention her homophobic comments but this wasn’t??

  7. I had no idea her horrible politics and opinions went as far as they did (or even that a lot of them existed.) I didn’t see any mention at all of them in other articles about her coming out, and I didn’t do enough personal research into her history and I’m very sorry about that. Before writing this article I had never heard of the UKIP and I’m also sorry that I didn’t do research on them. I’m adding an addendum to the article to make sure that we point out that we don’t support her racism, xenophobia or other horrible opinions.

Comments are closed.