Now, the 26-year-old, with the world women’s boxing flyweight title under her belt, no longer tries to hide or look away from the problems she faces. While no easy feat, Shindo has gone public with her situation and hopes others suffering from gender identity disorder can find comfort and courage through her.
Shindo, whose name remains Megumi Hashimoto on her family registry, spent her early childhood playing with boys, running around wearing shorts passed on from her brother. In elementary school, she never wore skirts. And she ran around with her upper body naked even as she approached her adolescent years, prompting an alarmed teacher to phone up her parents to alert them to it.
“I didn’t understand at all what was so embarrassing about it,” Shindo recalled.