Tour de France hero comes out as transgender woman
A Tour de France champ formerly known as Robert Millar has confirmed she is living as a transgender woman.
The athlete is one of Britain’s most successful cyclists of all time, winning the ‘King of the Mountains’ competition in the 1984 Tour de France.
In a note to fans today, the cyclist explained that she is a transgender woman going by the name Philippa York.
Tabloids have long speculated about her gender identity, with a dramatic disappearance from public life after a story ‘outing’ her in 2000.
York explained that she transitioned to female many years ago, but did not want to go public until now.
However, as the cycling champ is taking up a commentary job for ITV4, she explained it felt like the right time to make her transition public.
She wrote: “I, and those around me, embarked upon [a journey] at the start of this millennium. The outcome of that journey has meant that for a considerable time now I have lived as Philippa.
“As much as I’ve guarded my privacy over the years there are a few, I believe obvious, reasons to why I haven’t had a public ‘image’ since I transitioned.
“Gratifyingly, times have moved on from ten years ago when my family, friends and I were subjected to the archaic views and prejudice that some people and certain sections of the tabloid media held.”
She added: “Thankfully gender issues are no longer a subject of such ignorance and intolerance, there’s a much better acceptance and understanding.
“The steps taken over a prolonged period under the watchful eye of the medical profession to complete the transition from one gender to another can be difficult and are always only taken after much soul searching and anguish.
“And, although the end result is seen as a happier, more stable place, the emotions encountered to get there make for some very vulnerable periods.
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“While there has been some speculation concerning my gender over the past decade, perhaps it’ll now be better understood why unwelcome and unasked for intrusions into that transition have been damaging not only to myself but to those I love.
“Thankfully the people in my family who I cherish have since matured and grown into strong and independent individuals, therefore the need to protect them has lessened.
“This, combined with their support, encouragement and the shift in modern society’s attitudes, means that this will be a step forward for everyone.”
She added: “I really am delighted to have accepted this new challenge with ITV4; I’m looking forward to the racing immensely and in terms of my personal and professional development I think this is the right time to return to a more active role in cycling too – the sport I’ve always loved.”
ITV had announced York would be joining the commentary team for the Tour De France later this month.