March 1, 2023

EP. 306 — Who Wins When Everyone Plays? with Verity Smith

Sports are about so much more than competition. Through athletics we learn life skills, we move authentically, and we find community. This week, Verity Smith joins Jonathan to discuss the importance of trans inclusion in sports, his personal experiences on the rugby pitch, and how we can stay resilient in this critical moment for LGBTQIA+ rights.


Verity Smith (he/him) is the Mermaids’ Trans Inclusion in Sports manager. Verity is a gay trans man and has a disability. He played elite women’s rugby in both codes for 26 years and now plays for the Leeds Rhinos in the wheelchair rugby league  superleague. He also supports D&I for the International Gay Rugby and World Gay Games.

Verity believes that all young people should have access to sport, believing in education, not discrimination.


Mermaids is a UK-based organization that supports transgender, nonbinary, and gender-diverse children, young people, and their families.


You can follow Verity on Instagram @smithverity and on Twitter @VeritySmith19.


You can follow Mermaids on Instagram @mermaidsgender and Twitter @Mermaids_Gender, and at


Curious for more? Revisit our episode with Lui Asquith about trans rights in the UK here, and check out our full collection of episodes about LGBTQIA+ rights and representation at


Follow us on Instagram and Twitter @CuriousWithJVN to join the conversation.


Jonathan is on Instagram and Twitter @JVN and @Jonathan.Vanness on Facebook.


Transcripts for each episode are available at


Our executive producer is Erica Getto. Our associate producer is Zahra Crim. Our editor is Andrew Carson.


Our theme music is “Freak” by QUIÑ; for more, head to


Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness & Verity Smith   JVN [00:00:00] Welcome back to Getting Curious. Honey, I’m switching it up. I’m not doing that same intro every time anymore, it’s been years and we’re doing something new. I hope you’re feeling gorgeous. I already know you’re gorgeous. You know I’m Jonathan Van Ness. Each week, we’re sitting down, we’re learning more together, we’re loving life together. On today’s episode, I’m joined by Verity Smith, where I ask him: who wins when everyone plays? Welcome to Getting Curious. This is Jonathan Van Ness. We’re giving update, we’re giving how our trans family is doing, honey. Because we know that sports are about so much more than competition or college scholarships. When I’m learning a new gymnastics or figure skating skill, honey, I feel capable, I feel strong—and more than what I can temporarily feel as a 35-year-old who is, like, I guess, an

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