With long, blond hair cut by a black section over their face, Rudy wears a white shirt, dark vest & the WorldPride medallion

Rudy took to TikTok to explore why they quit the sport

Badminton success runs through Rudy Jean Rigg’s family.

Rudy — who is transgender, non-binary and uses they/he pronouns — was so good that he even made it to the state level.

Rudy’s grandmother Jean Tyrrel is believed to have founded the first badminton school in Australia.

“It started, like most things, sort of unofficially,” they said.

Their mother, Michelle Rigg, was a three-time Junior National Champion and later a Junior National Coach.

And their sister? Junior National Doubles Champion.

While Rudy from Melbourne once played the sport, he no longer does.

“No, I haven’t really played, but I’d like to get back into the game,” they said.

The reason why is explored in Rudy’s TikTok documentary series Transathletica, which explores the unique barriers transgender and gender diverse people face when trying to participate in sports.

Journalist Narelda Jacobs says Sydney WorldPride 2023 will be a “disgusting occasion”.(Supplied by Jaimi Joy)

“I felt that if I confirmed my gender in any obvious way, that I would no longer have a place in the sport,” says Rudy in one of the episodes.

The series – funded by TikTok and Screen Australia – explores Rudy’s challenges trying to enter the sport and includes insights from transgender athletes, as well as researchers and an endocrinologist.

“I help people gain a clearer and more holistic understanding of what it means to be trans in sports and what the whole range of lived experiences looks and feels like,” Rudy said.

Their main desire is to play badminton competitively, rather than just a community sport.

Transathletica is one of the latest projects from the content creator and LGBTQIA+ activist who rose to prominence through his TikTok channel, Rainbow History Class.

An elderly man in a striped orange sweater gives a thumbs up to the very colorful WorldPride medallion he is wearing.
Peter de Waal took part in the first gay and lesbian parade in Sydney in 1978.(Supplied by Jaimi Joy)

Co-created by Rudy and Hannah McElhinney in 2021, the Rainbow History Class will take viewers through queer and transgender history they “didn’t get in school,” from the history of queercore punks in the 1980s to how the rainbow flag became a symbol of the LGBTQIA+ community .

“We’re both really big history nerds,” Rudy said, adding that their favorite part of history is around pre-colonial ideas of gender.

“What I find really interesting – and terrible at the same time – is how the colonization and destruction of indigenous cultures played a role in the gender binary problem we have today.”

This slice of queer history in TikTok format has earned Rudy recognition, both nationally and internationally.

Along with Hannah McElhinney and producer Amina Soubjaki, they were named Best Creator on TikTok in 2021 at the Australian Influencer Marketing Awards in the Rainbow History Class category.

Rudy was recently named as one of the top 10 online creators in the 2022 British LGBT Awards.

“I was so shocked, I literally cried,” Rudy said. “It was very, very, I don’t know, unexpected.

In addition to his achievements, Rudy was recently named one of the 45 Rainbow Champions at Sydney WorldPride 2023, a title awarded to those who have made significant contributions to the LGBTQIA+ community.

Rudy Jean Rigg, Peter de Waal and Narelda Jacobs pose at the Rainbow Crossing in Sydney.
Rudy Jean Rigg, Peter de Waal and Narelda Jacobs pose at the Rainbow Crossing in Sydney.(Supplied by Jaimi Joy)

The global pride event will be held during the 45th anniversary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (the reason why 45 people were chosen).

All Rainbow Champions from across Australia will be revealed throughout the year, with Rudy being one of the first three people named, along with First Nations journalist Narelda Jacobs and LGBTQIA+ activist Peter de Waal.

“It’s going to be an incredible opportunity for all of Australia, not just Sydney,” Jacobs said.

Mr de Waal was one of the 78ers, a group that took part in Sydney’s first gay and lesbian parade in 1978.

“When I think back to that first Mardi Gras, overall it was kind of a lonely event because there wasn’t a community standing on the street saying, ‘Yeah, it’s OK to be gay,'” he said.

“Now we have, you know, even families with children.

As Sydney prepares to make history as the first city in the southern hemisphere to host WorldPride, Rudy is looking forward to connecting with the community.

“I’m going in wide-eyed and open-armed, really wanting to take on anything and everything it throws at me.”

#Rudy #TikTok #explore #quit #sport

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