Endurance athlete Chris Mosier made history this weekend after competing in the Duathlon National Championship by becoming the first known openly transgender athlete to join a U.S. national team, as a member of the team that corresponds with his true gender (as opposed to the gender assigned to him at birth). According to Outsports, Mosier came in 37th out of 117 contenders in Saturday’s championship race, finishing the duathlon, a three-part event that involves running, cycling, and more running, in just over an hour and two minutes. The top eight in Mosier’s category (men’s 35 – 39) were slated to join the national team; Mosier came in seventh.
Mosier joining a U.S. national team in the category of his gender identity is an important step for trans athletes, who often face a rough road when it comes to competing. The Advocate points out that resistance to trans competitors is most often posed against trans women. Mixed martial artist Fallon Fox and CrossFitter Chloie Johnson, for example, have both faced opposition from sports organizations and other competitors based on concerns that hormone replacement therapy gives them an unfair physical advantage over non-trans athletes. According to The Advocate, the “growing consensus among medical professionals” is that trans athletes’ hormone levels are not dissimilar from those of their non-trans competitors and that this supposed “advantage” does not exist.
According to BuzzFeed, Mosier, 34, has been competing in triathlons
since 2009 and began racing in the men’s category in late-2010. He explained to
BuzzFeed Life that he had significant concerns about how
transitioning would affect his athletic life, saying,
Before transition I was thinking about [competing in the men’s category] and wondering if I’d be able to be competitive. Being an athlete is such a big part of my identity. Five years ago when I started transitioning, I wouldnt’ve thought this was possible. But as my training has gotten smarter and I’ve become more dedicated to the sport, I set my sights on this and have been training for it.
Hopefully, Mosier’s successful bid for the national team will raise awareness that transitioning doesn’t have to come at the expense of one’s athletic competitiveness. He told Outsports,
I want people to know it is possible to maintain an identity as an athlete and transition. When I was considering transition, I did not see transgender men competing at a high level in the way I aspired to compete. I am excited to be a visible example for other trans athletes or people considering a medical transition.
When he’s not competing, Mosier is an active supporter for
trans athletes. He founded Trans*Athlete,
an online “resource for students, athletes, coaches, and administrators to find
information about trans* inclusion in
athletics,” and is the Executive Director of GO! Athletes,
a support network for LGBT student athletes.
As part of Team USA, Mosier will compete in the World Championship duathlon in Spain in 2016. Go Chris!