In 2007, Alex Hai made headlines by becoming the first female gondolier in Venice, Italy, winning a legal battle against the city and breaking into the male-dominated profession. On Wednesday, Hai announced in a Facebook post and during a Radiolab interview that he is transgender, writing, “It is inaccurate to refer to me as ‘she’ or ‘Alexandra’ for any reason.”
Hai’s declaration seems to stem from coverage he’s received in the media, which he has deemed inaccurate. A recent interview with Radiolab and his Facebook post are his attempt to correct the record. “I am supportive of equal rights for women, and feel that as someone who mastered the craft of rowing while in the body of a woman, I have proved that ‘yes even a girl can do it,’” Hai writes in his post. “However, I myself am not a woman, and the struggle of feminism is not my personal struggle. I simply want to do the work I’m passionate about, and be seen by the people around me the way I see myself.