Meet the Guy Who's Cleared Hurdles for Trans Athletes on Team USA

Since the Olympic games have been strictly categorized into men's and women's since the dawn of time (or at least since 1900 when women competed for the first time), we kind of assumed the committee wouldn't be very friendly to trans people or anyone else who sidesteps that male/female line. But they surprised us: Two (unidentified) trans athletes are competing on Team UK in Rio this year, and the Olympic Committee approved Team USA's very first trans athlete as well. Gold medal for acceptance!

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The US athlete in question is one Chris Mosier, the super fine trans man who runs the duathlon. Sadly, his sport isn't part of the Games themselves, so we won't get to watch him compete. But he's still part of Team USA, and that means we're cleared to obsess over him in the name of patriotism.

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Chris is a Nike-sponsored athlete, which is great because that means Nike will make heart-wrenching, chill-inducing ads about him. Like this one:

GO AHEAD, watch it again. We did.

Aside from being totally floored by Chris's dedication and bravery (he told Rolling Stone that he risked his career to come out publicly so he could be the kind of inspiration to young LGBT athletes that he himself never had), we're reminded again of the whole point of the Olympics: At its core, it's really about finding the best athletes in the world and celebrating their success, no matter who they are. That's beautiful, guys! It really is.

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After he qualified for the team, Chris had to meet with the International Olympic Committee to discuss changing the existing policy to be more trans-friendly by eliminating the surgery requirement and shortening the hormone wait period. In January 2016, that policy was pushed through, opening the doors for trans athletes across the globe to compete in the Games like their cis peers.

Still, it hasn't been easy: Earlier this year when Chris was competing in the Team USA qualifying race, he couldn't use the bathroom because the race took place in North Carolina, where HB2 still stops trans men and women from using their preferred bathroom. 

That law still needs to change, but maybe we don't leave this one entirely up to Chris. He's got some races to win, you know?

 

Image via Nike/YouTube

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