An Italian 37-year-old male DJ and IT specialist "passionate about fetish" has been consulted as part of a policy review concerning the presence of men in Irish women's football teams, the Guardian has revealed.
Giulia (formerly Marco) Valentino was born in Rome, Italy, and moved to Ireland in 2019, where he first joined a Dublin women's rugby team. According to The Independent newspaper, in 2021, he complained to Gay Community News magazine that we was barred from using the female-only changing room.
Afterwards, Valentino joined a women's football team and quickly caused controversy. During a match between Valentino's team (Na Gaeil Aeracha) and another women's club in Dublin, a male referee objected to his presence. The Independent reports that the referee "stopped the game after the first break in play" to tell Valentino's club that there was “a problem with your number 21”, complaining that “the player is a man.”
Next, a number of Twitter users alerted the public to Valentino’s presence on the women's team, posting a photograph of him playing a different match - a semi-final at Ballyboden St Enda’s.
The Guardian's Irish correspondent suggested that the picture misrepresented reality: "the photograph of Valentino closing in on an opponent appeared to tell its own story: a bigger, stronger athlete with an unfair physical advantage from having undergone male puberty." On Valentino's request, the journalist agreed not to feature the picture in the article "to protect her [sic] safety."
Following the August 2022 controversy, the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) claimed it was "developing a policy around transgender players." LGFA hasn't immediately responded to our request for confirmation whether Valentino has been included in the policy review process, as the Guardian article alleges.
Valentino identifies as a woman and appears to have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria. A post on his Facebook wall suggests he has been prescribed wrong-sex hormones. However, in a podcast published in 2021, trans-identifying Valentino claimed to be "completely comfortable with my genitals."
Beside women's football, he also engages in BDSM and fetish communities - a fact he advertises on his publicly available Facebook wall.
Before moving to Ireland, under the pseudonym "DJ Mav," he played regularly at two "fetish clubs" in Rome: Ritual the Club and self-professed "world’s largest Fetish and Body Art Club" Torture Garden.
After changing countries, Valentino found his home in Nimhneach, a Dublin-based BDSM club where he DJs on a bi-monthly basis, as a post at a fetish-related forum suggests.
Another post in a BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism) forum that appears to be made by Valentino suggests that dressing up in women's clothing is sexually arousing to him. It says: "Trying an outfit for a wedding I felt so pretty that I had to jerk off."
In the 1980s, sexologist Ray Blanchard created a typology which sorted "trans women" into two groups. One of the groups was called "autogynephilic transsexuals," who are males sexually aroused by the idea of being a woman. To them, this can either mean having a body that resembles a female, or behaving in ways coded stereotypically as female.
Despite giving Valentino plenty of coverage, mainstream English-language news outlets have failed to mention his publicly available posts of a sexual nature, or his connection to the fetish community.
Do you want to bring the "gender madness" to an end? Help us write about it! 4W is able to support our all-female staff and writers thanks to the generous support of our paid monthly subscribers.
Enter your email below to sign in or become a 4W member and join the conversation.
(Already did this? Try refreshing the page!)