For instance, while I was scrolling through my Netflix feed in boredom a few weeks back I came across a peculiar title “Untold: Deal with the Devil”, a documentary series on the life and achievements of one Christy Martin- known by her boxing title ‘The Coal Miner’s Daughter’. Not knowing much about the sport, or indeed the players either, I thought it would be an interesting watch. I would not have known that the tale of a closet lesbian and her struggles to be recognized as the best in the business, tackle life-threatening situations, and still manage to come up on top to make a name for women in a sport pre-dominated by men, would take such a gripping hold on me.
The Netflix documentary included interviews and first hand accounts of the events leading to the rise of Christy Martin’s fame and challenges, painting a holistic picture of the boxing champion who changed the game. It lent weight to the argument that not only as a woman, but a closeted one who could not be true to herself when trapped in an abusive relationship that did not give any safety after her husband (and manager) Jim Martin grew resentful of her free spirit. When she bravely stood up for herself and was literally shot for it, it was her guts and will to keep fighting that had her survive to box another day.
The powerful story draws to a close with Martin becoming more true to herself and realizing that she was done hiding, a message that really resonated with someone like me who took so long to come into my own sexuality. Her journey led her to, perhaps a cliche but romantic all the same, end with her rival-turned-partner Lisa Holewyne, whom she actually beat in a match back in 2001! Christy gives an inspirational ending by showing that true strength is the resilience you show when the world is against you (even if you would never want to cross her fists on a bad day).