Jayen Dawson: Frank, you should just have carried on the pretence

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Sometimes it’s best to keep your mouth shut, don’t you think? To recognise that the moment has passed and that, for all concerned, the right thing to do is keep your lip buttoned. I think so.

It’s not always easy to do, of course. In fact I would say it’s a skill that comes with age and experience - the ability to put aside the momentary adrenalin shot of relief that comes from saying exactly what is on your mind for the long term greater good.

For those who manage it , the rewards are that they become less selfish, wiser and kinder.

So, boxing promoter Frank Maloney. He isn’t exactly old, not from where I’m standing anyway. But he is 61, so old enough. Old enough to know better, I would say.

But apparently not. Because Frank Maloney has just announced that he is in fact a woman trapped in a man’s body and he can no longer live that way, so he has embarked on gender reassignment.

The man who has made a successful career in the ultimate macho world will live as a woman for two years and at the end of that time aims to have the necessary surgery.

In the meantime he has renamed himself Kellie, and begun wearing women’s clothing, a wig and makeup.

He is also having hormone therapy and counselling.

I have no problem with gender reassignment. If someone is convinced they are physically of the wrong gender, then I have no right to disagree with them or judge them.

I know that people afflicted in such a way go through trauma and depression so terrible that they can become suicidal. If someone feels the need to change sex, let them get on with it, I say.

Unless. Unless they are 61 years old, have a wife and three daughters - the youngest aged just 13.

Then I think things are different. My problem with Frank Maloney is his timing.

Surely having lived successfully as a man for 61 years, he could carry on until the end? Because that way he would be saving all those other people from trauma.

It’s not as if his life was a big pile of nothing, just the opposite.

Frank Maloney guided boxer Lennox Lewis to the World Heavyweight title and has been involved with the careers of countless other successful boxers.

He has been married twice but his second marriage to Tracey, now 47, has endured for 20 years. He has family, money and material success.

He is articulate and ambitious - in 2010 he stood as a UKIP candidate. I’m not sure what the UKIP policy is on transsexuals, I’m not sure what the UKIP policy is on anything other than leaving the the European Union, but I’m betting gender reassignment is not generally regarded as a good thing among its ranks.

But whatever. Of course Frank Maloney has the right to be Kellie Maloney if he so chooses. I’m just questioning his determination to act now. Shouldn’t his decision have been made decades earlier - or not at all?

I don’t think that facing the world as a woman at his age makes him brave - I think it makes him selfish.

Frank Maloney has put his own needs before those of the rest of his family, at an age when he should have been over such selfishness.

His now ex-wife says she would have carried on and kept his secret. That’s the way people used to live, keeping all the sensational stuff hidden under a conventional facade. They lived a lie - but maybe living a lie isn’t always the wrong thing to do.

If Frank Maloney had carried that burden and maintained that facade for 61 years, wouldn’t it have been kinder to carry on doing it ?

Leeds United 1992 League Champions.  Leeds United v Sheffield United, title winning match, 26th April 1992.  Players celebrate. From left: Jon Newsome, Gary Speed, Gary McAllister and Eric Cantona with John Lukic behind.

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