HARTFORD, Conn. — Chris Mosier’s motto is “Be the person you needed when you were younger.”
Mosier, 39, of Chicago, is the first transgender athlete to make a US national team (in triathlon) and the first transgender athlete to be sponsored by Nike. He has qualified to compete in the Olympic Trials in the 50 kilometer racewalk in January in California.
Mosier spoke at Trinity College Tuesday as part of National Transgender Awareness Week.
His life, he said, would have been different if he had any transgender athletic role models, if he had seen a transgender athlete in a Nike advertisement, or if he even knew that transgender people played sports.
“I would have known more about myself at an earlier age and my life would have been incredibly different,” he said. “I am grateful for the life I’ve had; 29 years of my life navigating this world as a woman has given me a very interesting perspective on the world.”
Mosier was the executive producer of a documentary entitled “Changing the Game,” which premiered in April at the Tribeca Film Festival and in part, featured Andraya Yearwood, a transgender female track athlete from Cromwell.
Yearwood and another transgender track athlete, Bloomfield High’s Terry Miller, have faced opposition in Connecticut from people who think the transgender girls should not be allowed to compete against cisgender girls, or a girl who identifies with her birth sex.
The CIAC follows the state statute, which defines gender as gender identity and not the biological sex of the person. Athletes are required to update school records to have their paperwork reflect the gender with which they identify. The CIAC also mandates that school officials verify the athlete’s gender identification and ensure “that the expression of the student’s gender identity is bona fide and not for the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage in competitive athletics.”
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In June, a Title IX complaint filed by the conservative Christian law firm Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of three state track and field athletes, including Glastonbury runner Selina Soule, claims that the policy allowing the transgender females to compete against cisgender girls cost some athletes top finishes in competitions and possibly college scholarships.
Mosier has followed the issue in Connecticut.
“I think Terry and Andraya have just as much of a right to compete in accordance with their identity as any of their peers,” Mosier said. “And it’s important that we create spaces where they can do that. Connecticut does have one of the most inclusive policies at the high school level. Unfortunately, it has some of the most outspoken people against it as well.
“Other states have had this policy and have had athletes compete without problems. I think there needs to be a broad scale education for people to understand what this actually means. These are kids who want to compete. That’s it.”
Mosier said he has told the two Connecticut athletes “not to limit their greatness to make other people feel more comfortable.
“I think the best gift I can give them is to tell them to be confident in the face of all the stuff they’re dealing with from adults. That’s the most heartbreaking part, that for the most part it’s not their peers. It’s the adults who have the problem, who need the education, who lack the understanding about trans identity and what this really means.
“Go back to that earlier quote (he said): You have two options. You could have a trans girl or you could have a dead trans girl. Over half of trans youth attempt suicide … and that can be reduced by 40% by having one person in their life who is affirming to them. Having a track coach who is affirming, having teammates who are affirming. Every situation like that decreases and lowers the risk and allows us to live happier lives.”