I’ve never especially liked sports – playing sports or watching them. I used to play soccer and soft ball as a little kid. (Ok – maybe I liked sports as a kid). In middle and high school, I played a few sports for one year each: softball, volley ball, lacrosse, track. I did not have much fun. My constant was cross-country running. I did that for all 6 years, 7th-12th grade.
I’ve always liked the Olympics though. I particularly remember the 1994 winter games in Lillehammer, Norway and the 1998 winter games in Nagano, Japan. They kinda dropped from my radar between then and 2010, when the winter games were in Vancouver, and my spouse and I watched a lot of it. (It’s always more likely for us to catch the winter games because hibernating lends itself to more TV watching.)
My spouse and I were watching women’s gymnastics last night (the US commentators were really getting to me like never before!!!), when a commercial popped on. I have not watched any actual TV (the kind that includes commercials) since the night before I got top surgery, and I usually do my best to tune them out because they are so infuriating, but this one was like, BAMMMM!
It features Chris Mosier, who is an American transgender advocate, triathlete, and speaker. (I had to look him up to see what he’s all about.) He is the first known out trans-athlete to join a U.S. national team – Team USA sprint men’s team for the 2016 World Championship. Apparently, trans-athletes who have undergone hormone replacement therapy for one year and pass Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) tests are allowed to compete without restriction. This has only been in effect since January. Until then, trans-athletes had been in a sort of limbo. In many ways they still are. Although he is not competing in Rio, apparently there are two trans-athletes who are, though their identities are not public. They remain closeted, for now at least.
According to an article last week in Rolling Stone,
“Mosier expressed that often, worrying about how other athletes, the public and organizations will react is what delays trans gender athletes when making the decision to come out. It’s possible for transgender athletes to compete without making public announcements of transition. Knowing he had the option to privately navigate sports as a man, it took Mosier years to decide to come out publicly as a trans gender athlete. But he did so to set precedence. ‘It’s like running the four-minute mile,’ he explains. ‘First people say it can’t be done. Then someone does it. Then it’s done again and again, faster and faster – just because the impossible was possible.'”
“Just because the rules allow it doesn’t mean that everyone is ready to accept it. Public opinion is the challenging piece.”
Having Nike on board, with this groundbreaking commercial, will certainly help! Although Nike (like any large corporation), is an evil behemoth, I am so psyched about the fact that they made this commercial. Good one.