I am in the June 2016 issue of Lava Magazine!
I am a firm believer of “NEVER READ THE COMMENTS” – but once in a while I get caught, and it’s usually not great. I learned this the hard way, early on in my being in the press. One of the best and biggest breaks for me was being featured in the New York Times in 2011 when I did my first NYC Triathlon race as male, after doing the race as female two years before.
I learned a lot in that interview. I was SO nervous. I didn’t know how to pivot, or how to navigate topics I wasn’t comfortable with. In 2015 I got to talk through it a bit with the author, Fred Dreier, who wrote about me again in The Wall Street Journal. While that was great closure for me, there were a few pieces I’ve carried with me and often discuss from that article as being motivation for me through today.
I often talk about how the article painted me as a “middle of the pack guy” and that didn’t sit well with me. Part of that was my uncertainty of how I would do, and part of that was assumptions from others based on gender stereotypes. That was the inspiration for what came next: getting my coaching certification(s) to learn more about the sport, better training, harder and smarter training, and new dedication to being the best I could be.
That is certainly a big part of my story, but there’s another piece: in 2011 when that article was published, the editor in chief of Lava Magazine at the time, tweeted out my story, saying, “Damn! Can’t believe the NYTimes scooped on this juicy feature (dripping with sarcasm) [LINK TO ARTICLE].”
Lava Magazine was one of two triathlon-specific magazines that I subscribed to. Triathlon is the sport I love, and overall I have had a wonderful experience with other triathletes and USA Triathlon. This hurt. I brought it up to the writer of my piece, who said he was friends with Brad and that it was a shot at him… but the tweet didn’t name the author. It was just an indication that not all of triathlon was as inclusive as I had experienced.
I had been following Brad, so I saved the screen shot, book marked the tweet, and unfollowed. I have thought about this tweet a lot. So it was amazing to get to speak with Chris Foster a while back and be featured in a story about transgender triathletes in the June 2016 issue of Lava Magazine.
This is to say thank you to Brad Culp, former EIC of Lava Magazine, for not believing in me and for thinking my story was not worthwhile for a major triathlon magazine. There are absolutely no hard feelings; I thought of this as positive inspiration. For the last five years your one tweet has provided endless motivation for me to continue to work hard in both triathlon and trans athlete advocacy, and it is a true honor to get seven pages with two full page photos in the June issue.
I have wanted to be in Lava ever since I first subscribed. I am proud to check this off my list!