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Team USA trans athlete: ‘I was afraid sport would be taken away from me’

Team USA trans athlete: ‘I was afraid sport would be taken away from me’

  • Chris Mosier became the first transgender man to represent the USA in an international competition.
Chris Mosier

Trans World Championship athlete Chris Mosier delayed transition for a year and a half because he feared officials would stop him taking part in sport.

The two-time national duathlon champion became the first openly transgender man to represent the USA in an international competition. He paved the way for the International Olympic Committee to relax its rules on trans competitors

He started his sports career in 2010, before transition. But now he is also an LGBT+ advocate and the founder of Transathlete.com, which has information on trans inclusion in athletics.

Now he has compared his coming out as trans in sport to runner Roger Bannister breaking the four minute mile.

He said: ‘The biggest battle was initially coming out. I remember sitting in therapy, prior to coming out and thinking “is it safe to do this?” and “is it possible to do this?”

‘Then I decided it wasn’t a matter of can it be done, but why not me? I often think about the four minute mile. Once Roger Bannister broke it, numerous people did it after him. And I think that, if someone can do it, why can’t it be me?

‘I delayed my transition for a year and a half because I was terrified that I would lose sport, but I never thought I’d walk away from it. I thought it would be taken away from me.’

‘It wasn’t just for me but for my community’

Mosier was speaking to the BBC’s LGBT Sports Podcast for its 100th episode.

He told them his transition, and his battle to take part in male sports, fuelled his desire to compete.

He added: ‘It really helped me to stay motivated and persevere when the race became difficult, because I thought it wasn’t just for me but for my community as well.

‘And there’s something really powerful about it being about something bigger than yourself – and I couldn’t back off, because I knew all these other folk were relying on me… which was a great deal of pressure to put on myself!’

In January this year, Mosier became the first openly transgender male athlete to ever compete in an Olympic trial alongside other men. However, he was unable to finish the race due to injury.

Now the Olympics have been delayed until 2021, it is not clear if he will be able to compete in Tokyo next year.

You can hear the whole interview here.