ESPN: The Body Issue

BODYISSUE

It’s official! I am a part of the 2016 Body Issue! I shot my part before my trip to Spain – I’ll detail the whole experience once the issue is released. I am equal parts excited and overwhelmed with excitement (they are little different), but I am so pumped to be a part of this, for a few reasons:

  1. For 29 years, I did not want to have my photo taken. What I saw reflected back (and documented forever) did not align with the way I felt inside, or how I saw myself. I am so proud to be at a point where I am comfortable in my own skin.
  2. I think it’s important for people to see that trans athletes exist, and be an example for others. I am not saying yall need to take your clothes off! I’m just saying, visibility is a powerful tool to fight against oppression and discrimination.
  3. The first thing I said to the reporter who profiled me in October was, “I want to be in the Body Issue.” They passed it on and the rest is history. SO COOL.
  4. I wanted to share my abs with you. 🙂

Look at this list! From the first two paragraphs of the ESPN article announcing the names:

Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade, UFC fighter Conor McGregor, Super Bowl MVP Von Miller and Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta are among the athletes who will shed their clothes to appear in ESPN The Magazine’s annual Body Issue.

Ten men and nine women will appear in the magazine, which announced the athlete list for the eighth annual Body Issue on Tuesday. The featured participants include Team USA duathlete Chris Mosier, who will be the first transgender athlete to pose.

Check this link for a sneak preview video, and look for the release on July 6 online and July 8 in print.

NYU Moving Up Day

I had the opportunity to be the keynote speaker at the NYU Moving Up Day celebration. It was a great opportunity to think about my journey, because I really began to settle into my identity as a trans guy during my time at NYU and while working in the NYU LGBTQ Student Center. It was a nice opportunity to reflect, share a bit of my journey with others, and celebrate the accomplishments of the amazing students there. And to be celebrated!

 

Texas discriminates against transgender high school athletes

Yesterday it was announced that representatives from Texas school districts had overwhelmingly endorsed a proposal aimed at barring transgender boys and girls from participating in athletics alongside their cisgender peers.

The Texas Observer reports “District superintendents and athletic directors voted 409-25 in favor of using birth certificates to determine student athletes’ gender, according to results obtained by the Observer through a request under the Texas Public Information Act.

Transathlete_K12_infographic_feb16This is not a well-informed or inclusive policy, and ranks Texas among the worst states in the nation for transgender youth.

This policy actively excludes students whose gender identity does not match their birth certificate – a document that is challenging for a young person to change. It forces students to negotiate their own gender identity in a way that stalls their ability to be their authentic selves, and is a barrier to inclusion.

There are many documented physical, emotional, social, and educational benefits associated with playing sports that last into adulthood. These include characteristics, skills, and values I personally developed through athletics, such as leadership skills, teamwork, communicating with others, goal setting, dedication, my work ethic, and perseverance, among many others.

Trans people practice the last of these mentioned, perseverance, every day by existing in a society which tells them they do not belong and are not wanted. High school is a time when all young people struggle with self confidence and long for acceptance from peers, but trans students face discrimination at a higher rate than their cisgender peers, and they are constantly “othered” by peers, teachers, and administrators who are not educated or equipped to support trans students. It is the responsibility of those in charge to stand up and advocate for all students, and Texas has failed to do so.

Texas is denying transgender youth the opportunity to connect with others, enjoy competitiveness and the benefits of physical activity, and have a high school experience similar to their peers.

At the high school level, the focus should be on enabling athletic participation for all students. Texas school leaders have a responsibility to ensure that transgender athletes can participate in a way that is safe, comfortable, and affirming of their identity.

Allowing athletes to participate in accordance to their affirmed gender identity the best policy when considering equity and fairness for all students.

For more information on high school policies for transgender athletes, visit the K-12 page of TransAthlete.com.

For tips on how to create inclusive policies for high school trans athletes, click here.

 

NPR / WNYC

I was lucky enough to be on The Takeaway this week, talking trans athletes and policy.The Takeaway, is collaborative show from PRI Public Radio International and WNYC Radio, with editorial partners The New York Times and WGBH Boston. The program’s goal is to advance an authentic American conversation on issues and topics of importance. I love doing radio shows – so far they have been great conversations and very well edited.

Also, I am impressed (but not surprised) with my friends, many of whom told me they either woke up to my voice or heard me during their morning routine. I love listeners of Public Radio!

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Listen to the short segment here.