As part of our support for the media coverage around Chaz Bono’s casting on “Dancing with the Stars” and an increasing amount of transgender-specific coverage in general, GLAAD is continuing to profile prominent transgender advocates and members of the community on a weekly basis. Previously, we spoke with Laverne Cox, Jamison Green, Ph.D., Stephanie Battaglino and Mari Rosenberger, Noah Lewis, and Bamby Salcedo. This week, we spoke with Chris Mosier about competing as a transgender athlete, breaking down gender stereotypes in sports, and being an advocate for social justice.
Having always been athletic, Chris enjoys competition and has participated in various sports and athletic events over the years. Starting out as a runner, he later embraced the challenge of the triathlon, recently finishing in the top 7% of the New York City Triathlon. Like many transgender athletes, Chris struggled with how transition might affect his performance and treatment from competitors. He often placed highly at competitions prior to his transition, but did not feel comfortable walking away with a first place trophy from the female category. Chris spoke about his experience with Chicago GoPride, saying, “Competing as a woman, I thought about gender all the time, to a point where it interfered with my ability to be successful because I didn't feel comfortable at races. Now, I feel more able to focus and gender doesn't come up as much.”
Since transitioning, Chris has received overwhelmingly positive receptions from fellow athletes. For his own teammates on the Empire Tri Club especially, his identity has been a non-issue. More importantly, he feels more comfortable interacting with others, finding a sense of camaraderie that was not there before. In addition to his commitment to breaking down gender stereotypes, Chris has used his transition as a means for promoting inclusion and awareness of transgender people in sports. He is still interested in competing at the highest level, and has placed 10th in the male category and 3rd overall in recent races. Both TRX and Odwalla are sponsoring Chris’ athletic endeavors, and Odwalla has named Chris on of its 2011 Athlete Ambassadors. You can see his video for TRX below. He is currently training for upcoming competitions, including Ironman Lake Placid next year.
Chris is also a USA Triathlon certified coach. He is interested in helping others reach their athletic goals, particularly LGBT youth. Being an educator as well, Chris is aware of the opportunity to share his knowledge and to speak out as a voice of transgender experience for those who cannot. GLAAD thanks Chris for speaking with us, and for his commitment to making the sports world safe and welcoming for transgender people.