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Venice's first female gondolier announces he's transgender

Associated Press logo Associated Press 22/06/2017
Alex Hai is seen as he rows on a gondola in Venice in an undated file photo. Hai, a gondolier who made headlines a decade ago for being Venice's first official female gondolier has announced he is transgender. Alex Hai made the revelation Wednesday, June 21, 2017, on Facebook and in a lengthy interview on Radiolab. (Andrea Merola/ANSA via AP) © The Associated Press Alex Hai is seen as he rows on a gondola in Venice in an undated file photo. Hai, a gondolier who made headlines a decade ago for being Venice's first official female gondolier has announced he is transgender. Alex Hai made the revelation Wednesday, June 21, 2017, on Facebook and in a lengthy interview on Radiolab. (Andrea Merola/ANSA via AP)

ROME — A gondolier who made headlines a decade ago for being the first woman to enter the male-dominated cadre of Venice's canal rowers has announced he is transgender.

Alex Hai made the revelation Wednesday on Facebook and in a lengthy interview on Radiolab.

He wrote: "It is inaccurate to refer to me as 'she' or 'Alexandra' for any reason."

Hai won a legal battle in 2007 and became the first official female gondolier to row tourists around the lagoon city.

In the Facebook post, Hai said he had mastered rowing "while in the body of a woman." But he said he was not a woman "and the struggle of feminism is not my personal struggle. I simply want to do the work I'm passionate about."

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