Is that really fair? Italian trans woman Valentina Petrillo set a new record at the Italian Indoor Masters Championships on March 12. The Paralympic athlete secured her eighth title in the 200-meter dash. But her performance also drew criticism. Heimo Lepuschitz criticized the competition on Twitter. “A society goes insane. A woke discrimination and disadvantage of real women. A mockery of fairness and equal opportunity,” said the political adviser.
Valentina Petrillo does not only have friends at competitions. The trans athlete, who still had to watch the Paralympics in Tokyo, dressed as a boy at the age of seven. The 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow fascinated her. “I was so impressed that I couldn’t find the words,” the Italian once said in an interview with the “Tagesspiegel”. The goal was clear: Petrillo wanted to appear in the Italian jersey at the Olympic Games himself.
But in the imagination she was not a man, but a woman. 40 years later, the Italian admits to her transsexuality. Hormone therapy began in 2017. Although she met the requirements for participation in the Tokyo Olympics, the Italian federation refused her the start. At the age of 14 she lost most of her vision after suffering from a degenerative eye disease. At the age of 20, Petrillo decided to take up running seriously.
Her coach at the time said she could take part in the Paralympic Games in Atlanta if she trained more. But she couldn’t and didn’t want to. In 2015 she got back into it and won eleven Italian championships in a row – at that time still for men. She finally came out as a trans woman and ran her last race as Fabrizio in October 2018. She lost her companions, her friends and her trainer distanced himself from her.
Hormone therapy initially caused her to be half a second slower for 100 meters. On September 11, 2020, Petrillo finally made it and met International Paralympic Committee guidelines. Valentina Petrillo wins gold for the first time as a woman in the 100, 200 and 400 meters at the Italian Paralympic Championships. After this success, 24 runners started a petition because trans women should be banned from running in women’s competitions. But she went on and won. Petrillo is the first Paralympic trans athlete from Italy.
Leave a Reply