Over the weekend, athlete Chris Mosier made sports history. The 39-year-old became the first openly transgender male to compete in an Olympic Trial alongside other men. In other words, he is the first transgender athlete to qualify for an Olympic Trial in the gender they identify with.
Mosier competes in race walking, and yes, it is a real sport. Race walking consists of keeping your feet in contact with the ground at all times. Additionally, judges watch closely to assess the racers’ techniques and report any fouls.
In 2015, he joined Team USA, making him the first transgender athlete to make a U.S. Mens national team. Since then he has competed in one duathlon and six triathlons as a part of the team. But months before the race walking qualifying trials, he switched to the sport and gave it a try.
How Did It Go?
Mosier left his first race walking competition as the masters national champion. He later qualified for the Olympic Trials in his second race, ranking 12th in the country overall. So looking at it, he did fairly well. That brings us to this past weekend, his third race walking competition.
The 50-kilometer race took place in San Diego, but unfortunately, it did not end how Mosier thought it would.
Early into the race, he tore his meniscus in his right knee, causing him to withdraw from the race. He took to social media and addressed his withdrawal and explained that even though he had to withdraw, it was still an “incredible” experience and he still feels accomplished.
Trans Athletes at the Olympics
Transgender athletes in sports has become a hot topic in recent years. Some individuals believe that transgender high school students should be allowed to compete, while others oppose the idea, believing it to be unfair.
As of right now, six states are fighting for bills to be passed that will ban transgender students from competing at the high school level.
In the Olympic world, transgender athletes have been allowed to compete since 2003, but there was a catch. Up until 2016, if a trans athlete wanted to compete, they had to undergo gender reassignment surgery. Now, in accordance to the International Olympic Committee’s new guidelines, trans male athletes can compete without any restrictions.
However, trans female athletes must demonstrate that their testosterone levels have below a certain point for one year prior to their first competition.
Mosier has become a voice in the fight for trans athletes to compete in general. He has voiced his opposition against House Bill 1572, which would regulate which teams transgender student-athletes could play on in the state of Tennessee.
Additionally, he approached the IOC and worked with them to change their policy on transgender athletes.
Last year, he criticized the International Association of Athletics Federations after their rule on trans female athletes was upheld; said athletes could be banned if they did not take medicine to reduce their testosterone levels. Policies such as this one affect many athletes, like two-time 800 meter Olympic champion Caster Semneya.
In an interview with the New York Times, Mosier stated that he will not go silent in the fight for transgender student athletes; he believes now is the most important time for him to speak up.
“It’s so important for me to use my platform to speak out against these bills and make sure that people are informed.”