The first transgender elite junior baseball player in Quebec, Victoria Lachance has only one piece of advice for young athletes who are questioning their gender identity: “Live your life and forget what other people think. »
Posted July 4 2021
Let’s go back two years. Victoria Lachance, born in a male body, played for the Aigles de Trois-Rivières in the Quebec Junior Elite Baseball League (LBJEQ). She then publicly announced her change of gender and name. The inspiring story was released in several media. But it all started long before this January 2019 announcement.
“I had had questions for at least three or four years, that I saw that there was something not normal,” says Victoria Lachance in an interview with The Press.
It was while scrolling on YouTube that she came across the channel of Maya Henry, a Toronto trans woman.
“It hooked me. So I went to see, and that’s when I turned on that there was something wrong. I did my research and I was just like, “This is it. This is who I am. It is 100% sure.” »
She waited a little over two years before telling anyone about it. When she made the decision to open up to her parents in 2017, their reaction was more than positive.
I have the nicest parents in the world. That’s something I can never complain about in life, not having super open-minded parents.
The months following his media release in 2019 were difficult for the athlete, who was 18 at the time. So much so that she decided to take a break from baseball the following summer, to take a step back.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect it to create such a big media wave. It took me by surprise, she recalls. I felt there was too much pressure. I knew if I kept going I was just gonna fart at the fret. »
She also wanted to prevent the media attention around her from affecting the team.
Victoria nevertheless continued to play given ball and hockey. Then, when the pandemic hit, she started training with teammate and best friend Christopher St-Pierre. And suddenly, the “sting” of baseball returned. The coaches and general manager Mike Lachance welcomed her with open arms at the Aigles camp. The young woman was first used in different positions, before making her way into the rotation of pitchers and showing the full extent of her talent.
Victoria finished the season with an ERA of 0.95 in just over 14 innings pitched. In the playoffs, she pitched 10 innings in two games, posting a 2.10 ERA.
The athlete, who can still play two seasons in the junior ranks, nevertheless does not hide the impact of taking hormones on his throw.
“I lost a couple of miles an hour,” she admits. But I practiced a lot and I compensate with my spin balls and the precision of my shots. »
To enjoy life
When she returned to the Eagles in 2020, Victoria Lachance didn’t notice a difference in the way her teammates interacted with her, with a few exceptions. Some had a “little discomfort”, she says. Unease that she hastened to dissipate.
“At some point, I took one aside and said to him: ‘listen, apart from my name and my physique, if you will, nothing has changed. I come here to play baseball, have fun with you, and you’re still my friend the same. My will to win is as present as before”. From that moment, things started to go well with him and everything returned to normal. »
The young woman, who has completed her transition, is now “110%” happy.
I don’t regret anything at all. My life is just too much better. I don’t ask myself any more questions. I’m just myself.
“The next step is just to enjoy, she breathes. I live my life, I don’t have to worry about anything anymore. All is done. »
A future policy?
Victoria, who is continuing her career with the Eagles, ardently wishes to get involved with young athletes who could experience a situation similar to hers.
“If I can open doors, I can’t say no,” she says. It can go further, even at the national level and in the United States. You’re going to tell me that it’s big, a little, but on that side I have ambition. »
She would also like to help implement a policy for trans baseball players in Quebec and Canada. Baseball Quebec, which supported Victoria as soon as she made her decision two years ago, plans to put such a policy in place eventually.
“I think there is something to be done,” says general manager Maxime Lamarche. We would be super happy to collaborate with Victoria, she is really nice. We have a nice relationship. But it’s not on the table right now. »
Mr. Lamarche also points out that certain “grey areas” remain.
“For example, if Victoria had said two and a half years ago that she now considered herself a woman and that she wanted to make the Canadian national team. At the international level, there were no rules yet. There is nothing. There is therefore still a part of the unknown, but there is a great team behind Victoria and we will learn to walk at the same time as her. Whenever there is an opportunity to learn and support it, we will do it. »
This is also the objective of the young woman: to be part of the national women’s team.
“For me, it would be an unforgettable opportunity! It’s in my plans as soon as possible, honestly! I think that bodes well,” she suggests. She says she is “super grateful” to the Quebec and Canadian federations, who “work hard to make things go well”.
And Maxime Lamarche assures that Baseball Quebec will be there to support the next players who will go through the same process as Victoria.
“We are going to be there to support them in this as best we can. »