Mark Weston, Transgender Olympian: LGBT+ History Icon (4)

Mark Weston is famous as a transgender athlete and Olympian and rightly deserves celebration. Born Mary Louise Edith Weston in 1905, his talent was throwing the javelin and shot put and he competed in the Olympics representing Britain and was dubbed 'the Devonshire Wonder'. Quite simply, one was one of the upstanding field athletes of the time winning the women's javelin throw and discus throw in '29 and shot put title in '25, 28 and '29 when competing in national championships.

He had an epiphany while in competition in Czechoslovakia recalling: 'I always imagined I was a girl until 1928. Then competing at the National Championships in Prague, I realised I was not normal and had no right to compete as a woman.'

Believing he had an advantage over his female competitors, he retired from athletics and spoke to Lennox Broster, a gender reassignment consultant. Extensive surgeries followed in April and May of 1936 and officially Mark fully transitioned before marrying his best friend, childhood sweetheart and life partner, Alberta Bray.

Weston was asked whether he should give up his national titles and his response was that he was a woman at the time of competing, but was happy to give up the titles if necessary; an incredible act of Sportsmanship that speak volumes about his character.

Weston settled into a sedate lifestyle with his partner, trained as a masseur and had three children. He lived a long, happy life in sad contrast to his brother Harry, who was born Hilda Weston before transitioning himself. His life came to an end in '42 when he committed suicide.

Mark Weston remains an admirable role model and example to young athletes and with his demonstrable qualities of pride, honesty, bravery and sportsmanship, he is hugely inspirational to the LGBTQ+ Community.

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