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Former jockey is now a woman

(69 Posts)
IntelligentYetIndecisive Sat 17-Feb-18 23:38:10

Vince Smith is now Victoria Smith and is still attracted to women.

There's a surprise. hmm

AClearShotOfTheStreet Sat 17-Feb-18 23:46:08

Not too bad. Admits she wasn't born a woman and wouldn't have had the same opportunities if she had been, and hasn't tricked any wife or children. Fair play really.

AFAIK, mainly from Jilly Cooper novels, horse racing isn't segregated by sex so no reason she cannot continue to compete.

I am massively on board with the anti self ID campaign, and hugely gender critical, but I am not sure a snarky face and comment every time someone is reported to be trans is warranted really.

IntelligentYetIndecisive Sun 18-Feb-18 00:12:54

Her reasons for transition are 'superficial'.

Such a massive change has got to be based on more than envying clothes and make up, surely?

LassWiADelicateAir Sun 18-Feb-18 01:33:54

Such a massive change has got to be based on more than envying clothes and make up, surely?

Did you read the article? There clearly was more to it than those outward trappings.

MarSeeAh Sun 18-Feb-18 01:51:13

I've read the article and I'm not seeing much about anything other than the outward trappings. He says he used to eye up women because he was interested in their clothes and make-up.

But then, other than the outward trappings, what else is there to say? There is no innate sense of womanhood.

I find it really weird that his past and his previous career successes are all now about "her" and not him.

IntelligentYetIndecisive Sun 18-Feb-18 02:11:34

"Victoria Smith spent her whole career hiding a big secret – terrified she would become an outcast in the macho world ofracing.

As Vince Smith, she suppressed her wish to befemale, passing herself off as one of the lads and even as a bit of a hellraiser.

Looking back over 50 years of her life as a man, she said: “I had a reputation for chasing women with the rowdy lads.

“I was very fortunate, I went out with some stunning girls. I was in love with them but also envious of how they looked.”

Pals had no idea of the real reason Vince was so keen on “eyeing up the girls”.

Victoria added: “I’d find myself looking at women not because I fancied them but to examine their clothes and make-up.”

Since living as a woman, Victoria has received moving messages of solidarity from friends in racing, including three-time champion jockey Richard Dunwoody and Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Graham Bradley.

She said: “Everyone in racing was completely shocked. But the support has been absolutely
unbelievable and overwhelming, the opposite of what I expected.

“During the 80s and 90s, racing was a very masculine sport so the idea of anyone finding out terrified me. It was such a relief when I finally confided in a friend because I had lived with this
secret inside since the age of five.

“It felt as if I had been in prison that whole time and then suddenly released.”

The jockey has never married and has no children but enjoys the support of ex-partners including Lorina Anderson.

Victoria said: “I have had four long-term relationships with women, ranging from four to seven years. They’re all still in touch and I went out to celebrate my last girlfriend’s birthday weeks ago.

“It was really nice she wanted me there. We split three years ago but are on good terms.”

Victoria is now in talks to ride in charity races over the next year.

She added: “I rode as a male for 17 years while always wanting to be female. But if I was born a woman I wouldn’t have had opportunities in racing or made all the friends I did.

“So I want to finish off my career by racing as a female. I’m determined to do it.”

Victoria, who grew up in London, experimented with her mum’s make-up and shoes as a young boy.

In public, she put on a macho persona – often getting into fights with classmates.

She said: “I tried to make myself harder. I could feel this femininity inside so made myself more aggressive to compensate. I was in a battle with myself... it was like a double life.”

Victoria had dreamed of being a jump jockey after watching racing with her grandfather. She had lessons in Richmond Park and a 16 moved to Newmarket to become an apprentice.

At 18, she rode in her first race, the Daily Mirror Apprentice Championship Handicap, on April 14, 1983.

She enjoyed a 17-year career on the flat and jumps, winning 250 races, appearing at Royal Ascot three times and riding the Topham Chase over Aintree’s National fences and the Cheltenham County Hurdle.

Victoria said: “During good times, I managed to suppress my femininity but whenever an injury or relationship problem came along, it always surfaced again.”

After retiring as a jockey, Victoria went on to train 82 winners in five years. Her biggest win was in 2005 when 20/1 shot Blitzkrieg took the Autumn Stakes at Salisbury.

Even while sipping champagne in the winner’s enclosure, however, she was secretly dreaming of becoming a woman. In 2015, a relationship breakdown forced Victoria to confront her feelings.

During this period, boxing manager Kellie Maloney and Olympic gold-medallist Caitlyn Jenner publicly switched gender.

Victoria, who’s still attracted to women, said: “It helped that high-profile people like Kellie spoke out. It made me think, ‘If they can do it, why can’t I?’”

Victoria Smith competed in many big races throughout her career

In the next year, Victoria spoke to transgender people online and attended an LGBT club night, walking into a hotel room as a man and emerging in women’s clothes.

Victoria said: “I was completely terrified, like going out for my first ride on the course. It was the same feeling of being nervous, excited and trying to put the right foot in front of the other without falling.”

On January 1 last year, she decided to become a woman, choosing a name she had wanted for a daughter.

But it wasn’t until September that she felt able to tell her friends in the sport.

Dunwoody, 54, texted: “I really hope it all goes well and you have my full support.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was a total shock. I’d consider you my best mate in racing. I hope we can catch up and have a beer soon.” Bradley, 57, wrote: “I’d love to meet Victoria in the New Year.”

And Steve Smith Eccles, 63, joked when he saw a photo: “Don’t come around here dressed like that or I’ll want to jump on you.”

Victoria only came out to her parents two months ago, around Christmas – first to mum Moyra, 76, and then to her dad John, 78.

She said: “We now go to Dad’s local pub together for a drink with no worries – and that’s one of the things that pleases me the most.

“I’m still the same person and I hope my story helps others. If I’d decided not to switch gender, I’d go to my grave filled with regret.”

It's all about dressing up. confused

AClearShotOfTheStreet Sun 18-Feb-18 08:26:50

Well, so what really? I have no problem with men dressing up, as long as their right to do so doesn't impact on any of my rights.

CB1234 Sun 18-Feb-18 08:50:53

I think you're just trying to cause a fuss over nothing. It's his business only and he isn't harming anyone else. It must take guts to come out like this. And so what if he's still attracted to women. I am in agreement with some of the arguments against self ID, namely women's safety in women only spaces and awarding men awards meant for women, but I fully support the right for anyone to change gender. It just shouldn't be made so easy that those who are using it as an opportunity to take advantage are able to do so as easy as deciding which shop to go to or what to have for dinner. Hoops should be there to jump though for a reason.

SleepFreeZone Sun 18-Feb-18 08:54:23

I am #peaktrans but tat article didn’t offend me at all. I believe her as it goes.

HairyBallTheorem Sun 18-Feb-18 08:57:57

Well, I'm as gender-critical as they come, but I have no problem with this account. As others have pointed out Victoria owns her past, accepts that she got where she did as a male joekey due to male privilege which she wouldn't have had as a woman, is going to keep competing but in a sport that's mixed anyway.

(Incidentally a friend of mine who's into riding and equestrian sports pointed me at an interesting statistic. Due to the elaborate form books and handicapping system in horse racing you know pretty accurately how good a horse is - and when you correct for the quality of the mount, female jockeys do as well as male jockeys. So it's not that men are better therefore win loads of stuff, it's that they're men, and are therefore given the better horses, which are capable of winning stuff.)

HeatedCatFurniture Sun 18-Feb-18 09:04:10

The only problem I would have with this is if she returned to racing, she wouldn't face the prejudice woman jockeys do in terms of being given good horses to ride etc, because the owners and trainers would have known her as a man. And of course if she were to win anything major and it was counted as a woman's achievement. But at her age that's not very likely.

Spudlet Sun 18-Feb-18 09:06:12

Racing is a macho sport - horses really don't give a shit about the genitalia of the person riding them, but women operate at a disadvantage because of the human factors - basically as a pp said, they don't get a fair chance at the best rides. Compare and contrast to eventing, where the women are as good as and compete on an equal footing with the men. Just as skilled and physically demanding a sport as racing, IMO.

I am peak transed, but in this instance I say kick on. She isn't about to take a ride from a natal woman - she's retired and anyway, racing isn't sex segregated (sexism issues notwithstanding). She's honest about having benefitted from male privilege - horses can be pretty good at stripping bullshit out of people. You don't get to the top without a good dose of self awareness. If she helps to crack racing open a bit further for everyone, good on her.

HeatedCatFurniture Sun 18-Feb-18 09:10:56

www.telegraph.co.uk/racing/2018/01/30/things-may-equal-not-aspiring-female-jockeys/

Verypersonalandcleverusername Sun 18-Feb-18 09:12:50

Interesting that most posters don't have a problem with this mtf. Perhaps because jockeys are very short and slight. Who would feel threatened by them in women's toilets?
Gives a good indication of why men aren't threatened by ftm.

HairyBallTheorem Sun 18-Feb-18 09:21:51

Very I think that's because, as many of us have said repeatedly, we don't have a problem with transsexual people as individuals. It's the "trans rights activists", understood as political extremists, we have a problem with - the ones who want to insist "transwomen literally are women" and that transwomen should have access to all female spaces they want, including prisons, hospital wards, rape crisis centres, DV shelters, sports where physical differences due to sex matter. I see no evidence that Victoria is this sort of person - she comes across much more as the old-fashioned type of transsexual we've all got along fine with in the past, who just wants to get on with living her own life quietly. Her remarks about male privilege suggest she's the sort of transwoman who understands sexism and the fact that you don't just announce you're a woman and then trample all over the rights of the women who were born into womanhood and have no choice about how they're treated.

thedancingbear Sun 18-Feb-18 09:28:32

I would have with this is if she returned to racing, she wouldn't face the prejudice woman jockeys do in terms of being given good horses to ride etc, because the owners and trainers would have known her as a man. And of course if she were to win anything major and it was counted as a woman's achievement.

So you're fine with trans people as long as they don't work in their chosen professions?

Spudlet Sun 18-Feb-18 09:30:26

I don't have a problem with trans people. I have a problem with the idea that anyone should be able to self-ID their way into any place (prisons, hospital wards etc) without any controls at all, or that women should always have to move over, or that women might be expected to play full contact sports against a 6'3" transwoman with masculine physiology, and just suck it up when she breaks their legs. But this? This reads to me like someone trying to get on with life, which is I believe most people, regardless of whether they're trans or not, want to do. I think she should be able to do so. I think we, as a society, should be looking for solutions that enable everyone to do so, rather than rushing to trample the rights of one group for the sake of a vocal minority of unreasonable people who claim to speak on behalf of another!

thedancingbear Sun 18-Feb-18 09:31:17

This very existence of this thread underlines how transphobic this place has come. There is nothing in this account that could possibly cause you offence. She's not coming out with TRA shit, she's not talking about invading women's spaces, she just wants to quietly live her life. And this place is still all over her like a rash.

HeatedCatFurniture Sun 18-Feb-18 09:34:08

dancing I'm fine with trans people as long as their achievements aren't celebrated as women's achievements. Obviously there isn't a lot that could be done about owners/trainers deciding to give Victoria a ride based on her achievements as Vince.

Hoppinggreen Sun 18-Feb-18 09:38:06

As female and male jockeys can compete together there’s no advantage to him living as a female from a sporting point of view
She can wear what she wants and call herself what she wants and live as a woman, doesn’t bother me in the slightest, it’s very different from the TRA’s

thedancingbear Sun 18-Feb-18 09:40:37

But you'd stop her returning to work if you could, right, HeatedCatFurniture?

HeatedCatFurniture Sun 18-Feb-18 09:47:22

Oh don't be ridiculous, of course I wouldn't. I just think it's important to acknowledge the privilege she has enjoyed as a male jockey, and she appears to be doing just that. If she was acclaimed as eg the first woman to win the Grand National, that's what I'd have a problem with.

HatsontheWardrobe Sun 18-Feb-18 09:47:27

This very existence of this thread underlines how transphobic this place has come.

Why does this person have to Identify as a woman in order to express themselves in the way they feel comfortable?

Is it transphobia to be incredibly sad that gender stereotyping has become so entrenched that this person lived many years of their life so unhappy and spent their life compensating for their feelings before finally plucking up the courage to express themselves?

What is it about the meaning of the word man/him/he that leads to this person to feel so uncomfortable?

What is it about the desire to wear makeup and specific clothing that results in this person believing they have a different identity?

thedancingbear Sun 18-Feb-18 10:21:50

Is it transphobia to be incredibly sad that gender stereotyping has become so entrenched that this person lived many years of their life so unhappy and spent their life compensating for their feelings before finally plucking up the courage to express themselves?

Ah, right. The OP was expressing sympathy for the predicament Vince/Victoria finds herself in. Thanks for the clarification.

thedancingbear Sun 18-Feb-18 10:23:51

HeatedCatFurniture, these are your very words:

The only problem I would have with this is if she returned to racing

You then explained why you thought she should no longer be able to work in her chosen profession.

[shrugs shoulders]

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