CHRIS MOSIER WORKED hard hammering his power, strength and endurance. For years he’s been plugging away, gradually moving his way up the competitive ranks, but never making it high enough on the podium to make a national team. Last June that changed when he finished seventh in the men’s 35–39 category at the US national duathlon championship, which was enough to earn his a spot at next year’s world championship race in Spain.
No big deal, right? There are lots of people who strive to make national teams and do that. Chris Mosier’s journey has been dramatically different, though. He competed in his first triathlon in 2009 – as a woman. Two years later he would compete in the same event, the New York City Triathlon, as a man.
Since making the transition in 2010, Mosier has become both an advocate and a resource for trans athletes. He founded the website transathlete.com.
“When I was considering transition, I didn’t see any trans men who were athletes,” he told The Advocate magazine. “I didn’t know it was possible to continue to compete through transition, and I thought I would go from competitive to middle-of-the-pack in races. But the opposite has been true. I’ve gotten more and more competitive in the male age group, working toward the elite level. My hope is that athletes who are questioning their gender identity can see me and hear my story and know they don’t have to give up their identity as an athlete to live authentically.”
Shortly after Mosier’s duathlon success, an athlete who had planned to compete on Harvard’s women’s swim team, Schuyler Bailar, was wrestling with whether or not he should compete at all, let alone as a man or as a woman. After being recruited for the women’s team, Bailar had taken a gap year, during which he “came out as transgender,” the school’s newspaper, The Crimson, reported. Here was his dilemma: he loved to swim, but he wasn’t sure how long he could continue “the girl thing,” he told the newspaper. Eventually Bailar was given the opportunity to swim on either the women’s or men’s teams at Harvard – he chose the men’s. He’s since started hormone treatments and has been competing on the men’s team. While he’s gone from being one of the fastest swimmers in the pool to one who is hanging on at the back of the lane, he’s happy with his decision.
In order to be eligible to compete in sanctioned triathlon events, trans athletes must follow the standards set by the International Olympic Association, which the International Triathlon Union has chosen to follow. According to transathlete.com, those standards include that in order to “participate consistent with their gender identity” an athlete must have: Undergone sex reassignment surgery Had hormone treatments for at least two years, and Received legal recognition of their transitioned sex.