Part of Outsports’ series on our 100 most important moments in gay sports history.
Kickboxing, 1998. Thailand is well-known for its "lady boys," but when one of them starts beating bigger men in the Kickboxing ring...even in Thailand it causes a stir. That's what happened when Nong Toom stepped foot in the ring for the first time as a competitive Thai boxer in February 1998. Not only did the 16-year-old beat a much larger man, she then kissed the man after the fight. The incident brought about huge publicity for Nong Toom that helped revitalize the sports of Thai boxing in that country. She won 20 of her 22 matches despite saying in an interview that her opponents were desperate to beat this "lady boy."
Just a year later, she made headlines again when she announced her retirement from the sport and her decision to have sex-reassignment surgery. Her life became the subject of the 2003 film Beautiful Boxer.
She returned to kickboxing in 2006 and has dabbled in it since. Fully transitioned, she now fights women.
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