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Chris Mosier is the modern Front Runner

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Chris Mosier (Photo provided by Chris Mosier)

Chris Mosier is a man of many firsts.

In 2015 he became the first openly transgender man to make a Men’s U.S. National Team, when he qualified for the Sprint Duathlon team.

In 2016 he became the first trans man to compete against men in a World Championship race. He is now a three-time member of Team USA in the sprint and long course duathlon (run/bike/run) and sprint triathlon (swim/bike/run).

He is the first transgender man to be featured in ESPN Magazine’s “Body Issue” and the first transgender athlete to appear in a Nike ad – the Nike commercial debuted in primetime during the 2016 Rio Olympics. And, he was named “Person of the Year” by Outsports and to the OUT 100 list.

We spoke to Chris Mosier on his 36th birthday.

Chris Mosier (Photo provided by Chris Mosier)

What was the moment you realized?
I always knew who I was deep down inside, but at a certain point it didn’t match up with what the people around me expected of me as a “little girl.” All throughout my childhood, I’m hearing that little girls don’t like to skateboard, but I like to skateboard, so, what is the disconnect? I didn’t understand my identity to be a transgender guy until after college.

My now wife, who I was dating at the time, was like, ‘you should put some thought into your gender and how you feel about existing in your body.’ That lead me to some books and I was doing a lot of research on YouTube because that was the only place I felt safe to access that information without identifying myself. There was one video in particular called ‘Transgender Basics.’ It’s put out by the LGBT Center in New York City. It has Laverne Cox, before she was famous as Laverne Cox, and I remember watching that and hearing the storytelling from Laverne as a trans woman, a guy named Nicco [Beretta], a trans man, and a gender queer person, and just remember watching it over and over again, and thinking, wow, this sounds a lot like my experience.

What are you most proud of?
I’m at a point today where I really feel confident in being my authentic self.  Athletically, I’m most proud of sharing that with the world, to open up the door for other younger transgender athletes or non-binary athletes to pursue what they love without compromising their identity. I’m most proud of making Team USA and having a part in the IOC [International Olympic Committee] policy change to open the doors for athletes to come after me – maybe a transgender Olympian or a trans-kid in high school, who can play the sports he loves without having to hide who he is.

What are you most embarrassed about?
Publically, when I’m telling my story, I didn’t have the language or terminology to identify who I was until about 27 or 28-years-old. It’s interesting for me to stand up as an educator and advocate and be humble in that moment, and say, ‘you don’t know what you don’t know.’ This is who I’ve always been since I was 4-years-old and I can remember my first experiences with gender activities, but I didn’t have the language to describe who I was. Looking back, there are moments when that’s embarrassing for me.

What’s more challenging — getting older as an athlete, or fighting for trans rights for athletes?
Fighting for trans rights for athletes. Getting older has been awesome. I’m so excited every year since I have transitioned; I’ve loved my birthday. Before, I didn’t want to tell anyone it was my birthday. I didn’t want parties or gifts, but today I feel really good telling people. I didn’t feel I was worthy of having a celebration of my life. So, it’s really cool now to get older and every year’s been better than the last.

What scares you the most?
The idea of getting my teeth knocked in – like being in a bike or car accident.

Do you think reactions from other athletes would have been different if you were transitioning from man to woman?
Absolutely. I have had the privilege of experiencing male privilege in my transition in a way that ties into how deeply sexist sports can be. People assume that people assigned male at birth are better at all sports and all aspects of sports than people assigned female at birth. So, when I transitioned, people in many ways gave me a slap on the butt and said, ‘good luck,’ ‘go out an get ‘em.’ No one thought I would be competitive and when I have won races, people kind of shrugged and said, ‘good job.’ I know that trans women and trans girls who’re fighting just to participate, encounter so much more resistance to both their existence and their ability to participate in sports.

What do you want people who don’t understand transgender people to know about transgender people.
Trans boys are boys, and trans girls are girls.  If you have a women’s locker-room and you have a trans woman in it, there are still zero men in that locker room. Our identities are authentic. It’s who we are and we deserve to have access to places to exist and live full lives like everybody else.

Competing in a state with has gender discriminating bathroom laws?
I made my second and forth U.S. National teams in North Carolina right after HB2 was passed. For me it was important for me to go. I appreciate when allies said, ‘I’m not going to go because I’m going to protest this event being in this state.’ For me, as a transgender athlete it was important to show up and say, ‘I will not be stopped,’ and to use the moment to show the absurdity of this situation. I’m able to represent my country in international competition at the highest level of my sport, but I’m not safe in spaces in my own country because of discriminatory laws.

What’s the greatest challenge as a transgender athlete?
As an athlete they’re the same as every other athlete – putting in the work. Being dedicated to your sport at a high level takes a lot of work, time and that’s a challenge. I put a lot of pressure on myself because I want to take every opportunity I have to advance trans rights in athletics. I’m not only competing for myself, but for my community and also for every trans person who comes after me. That helps me perform to have that motivation and also it can be a challenge.

What would you like to see as the future for trans athletes?
A moment in time where all people have access to sport and can be their authentic selves. It’s the next step I’d like to see in my lifetime for us to have universally accessible opportunities for young trans kids at the K-12 level. It’s so important for young people to move their bodies and have all the opportunities to have all the great things that people learn through sport. When I think about my own experience, I think the good qualities that appreciate about myself and other people have been learned through participation in sports – leadership qualities, goal setting, perseverance, time management, communication, the list goes on…. We know that for building self-esteem and confidence it’s so helpful to have those opportunities and trans kids need those as much as any other kid. I really want to see high school state policies allow for participation of transgender students in a way that is in line with their gender identity.

Mosier is vice president of program development and community relations for You Can Play, an organization that works to ensure the safety and inclusion of all in sports – including LGBTQ athletes, coaches, and fans. He is also founder of TransAthlete.com, a resource for trans-inclusive policies in athletics.

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Super Bowl LVIII: Queers 14, MAGA haters two

Out gay cheerleader Jonathan Romero cheered with the 49ers Gold Rush team in his first Super Bowl. Romero joined the squad in 2022

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Even if you didn’t watch a second of the Super Bowl Sunday night, you probably already heard through friends or social media that the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in overtime, 25-22. 

And you undoubtedly learned it was a repeat performance by quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his team, winning the Lombardi trophy two years in a row. And how could you have missed all the coverage of Taylor Swift and her tight end, er, her boyfriend, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce? 

But we kept our own LGBTQ centered scoreboard of the Big Game, awarding points for queer representation and allyship to Team Rainbow, while also making note of points scored by the haters and mad MAGA hatters whom we’ve dubbed Team Troglodyte. To us, that’s the score that really matters, and we are proud to report: WE WON!

Gay man on the field: One point for Team Rainbow

Jonathan Romero cheered with the 49ers Gold Rush team in his first Super Bowl. Romero joined the squad in 2022 and has been welcomed by his cheermates and fans. 

Despite the disappointing loss, Romero went partying after the big game with his squad at Caesars Palace. As the Los Angeles Blade has reported, Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies of the Los Angeles Rams paved the way in 2019 as the first male cheerleaders in Super Bowl history. 

LGBTQ ally Taylor Swift makes out and dances with Travis Kelce after win: Two points for Team Rainbow

Even if you’re turned-off by straight PDA, the MAGA crowd is even more disgusted by this pop star and her hunk, floating crazy conspiracy theories that their relationship is a plot to re-elect President Joe Biden. Progressives just aren’t that clever enough to engineer that level of musical and political machination. Swift and Kelce danced to her hits at the after-party, songs that have helped closeted fans come out. The Time Person of the Year has embraced LGBTQ rights, has been honored by GLAAD and appeared with drag performers. Maybe she can help the Chiefs acknowledge there are LGBTQ football fans?

Trump takes credit for Taylor Swift’s success because of course he did: One point for Team Troglodyte

Sigh. The truly sad part is how many people will believe this to be true. 

Anti-LGBTQ group funds billion dollar ‘He Gets Us’ Super Bowl ad campaign: One point for Team Troglodyte

A non-profit behind two commercials during the Super Bowl that rebrand Jesus for Gen Z is the main funder of a designated hate group opposing abortion and LGBTQ rights, Open Democracy reports. The report cites Christianity Today as first revealing that David Green, the billionaire co-founder of Hobby Lobby, was among the funders of the ads. They are reportedly produced by a group called The Signatry, a front for the Kansas-based Servant Foundation, which Open Democracy revealed is the main identifiable source of funding for the Alliance Defending Freedom, labeled an extremist anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. And who else is in Kansas? Oh, right, the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. 

The SNL alumna takes a backseat to a talking cat in this hilarious commercial for Hellman’s Mayonnaise:

“RuPaul Drag Race” star Heidi N Closet joins Judge Judy, comedian Benito Skinner, Jury Duty’s Ronald Gladden, Grammy-winning singer Meghan Trainor and bestselling author and former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho in an ad for e.l.f., reported People.

And there were, reports the Advocate: Mountain Dew, NYX, Paramount+, Starry, Homes.com — featuring “Schitt’s Creek” star Dan Levy across three ads, for three points  — and this year, Volkswagen portrayed a lesbian wedding! 

Gay flag football in Super Bowl spotlightOne point for Team Rainbow

The NFL hosted a group of LGBTQ youth from Las Vegas at a flag football clinic during Super Bowl week at the NFL Experience. A variety of NFL front-office executives, board members of the National Gay Flag Football League, the 49ers cheerleaders and former NFL stars Tony Richardson and Kenny Stills, according to Outsports.

Final score: Team Rainbow 14, Team Troglodyte 2! 

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Your gay guide to enjoying Super Bowl LVIII

SF 49ers are playing the Kansas City Chiefs in Vegas. Even if you’re not a “sportsball” fan, there’s a lot LGBTQ+ folks can be excited about

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Los Angeles Blade’s intrepid Sports Editor Dawn Ennis lays out the excitement for LGBTQ+ fans waiting to watch Super Bowl LVIII

LAS VEGAS, Nev.  — The countdown to the big day is down to just hours. And no, we’re not talking about Episode 7 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, that’s not until next Friday! No, the straights are super-hyped about the biggest game in 2024 sports, and believe it or not, there are many sports fans who also just happen to be LGBTQ+ who are excited to watch Super Bowl LVIII. 

That’s 58 to those of you who didn’t pay attention to Roman Numerals in grade school.

And yes, besides the commercials, the halftime show, the nachos and the adult beverages, there’s plenty of queer content to enjoy. So, whether you’re just watching for the tight pants, wondering which of the cheerleaders is secretly Sapphic, or perhaps unaware that the NFL actually does support the LGBTQ+ community and has had players come out, grab a beer and read on. 

Who’s Playing and When? 

The San Francisco 49ers are playing the Kansas City Chiefs in Las Vegas on CBS and Paramount+ with the pre-game coverage starting at 6 p.m. EST and kickoff at 6:30 p.m. Reba McEntire (No, not Taylor Swift) is singing the National Anthem.

What About the Halftime Show?

The Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show begins at approximately 8 p.m. EST and Usher (No, not Taylor Swift) is performing. 

Meet the 49ers’ Out Gay Male Cheerleader

Jonathan Romero will be cheering with the 49ers Gold Rush team in his first Super Bowl. As the Los Angeles Blade has reported, Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies of the LA Rams paved the way in 2019 as the first male cheerleaders in Super Bowl history, and Peron has reportedly been by Romero’s side all this week leading up to his debut. Romero joined the squad in 2022.

So Does the NFL Really Welcome Us? 

The answer is a resounding yes, as evidenced this past week at “A Night With Pride.” For the third year in a row, GLAAD teamed up with the league and big-name sponsors for a glittery gala, this time at Caesars Palace, headlined by out singer Lance Bass and performer VINCINT. Special guests included both Romero and Peron, out gay defensive lineman Carl Nassib who retired recently, former NFL player RK Russell, Jacksonville Jaguars strength coach Kevin Maxen, sportswriter LZ Granderson, actor Angelica Ross, pro wrestler Anthony Bowens, pro snowboarder Brittany Gilman as well as GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis and many more stars.

So how inclusive is the NFL? I mean, really?

The LGBTQ+ sports site Outsports recently chronicled 62 current or recent NFL players, 13 owners and nine head coaches who support gay and bi athletes and the LGBTQ community, and 101 efforts at inclusion by the NFL, its teams and its players. It was ten years ago this week that Michael Sam came out as gay. Fast-forward to 2021 when Nassib came out as the first out gay active football player in NFL history. Times have changed.

Has anyone gay ever played in a Super Bowl?

The answer is yes, but none came out until after they retired. The most recent was Ryan O’Callaghan, an offensive lineman with the New England Patriots in the 2007 season. O’Callaghan also played with the Kansas City Chiefs and in 2022 predicted more players will come out. As Outsports has reported, two gay men played for the 49ers, although neither played in a Super Bowl. Running back Dave Kopay was a 49er from 1964-67 and offensive tackle Kwame Harris from 2003-2007. Those who preceded O’Callaghan were Jerry Smith (1972), Roy Simmons (1983) and Esera Tuaolo (1998).

Has anyone LGBTQ+ ever coached in a Super Bowl?

Yes again! Katie Sowers was the first out LGBTQ+ coach in Super Bowl history. She was with the 49ers back then. 

Do either the Chiefs or the 49ers support LGBTQ+ fans? 

Check out 49ers Pride! As the Blade has reported, they have led the league in representation and the team has supported them with gender-neutral fan gear. As for the Chiefs, well, we couldn’t find anything on their website that relates to LGBTQ+. 

Whomever you root for, have fun, and celebrate safely!

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What’s the Queer quotient for the 2024 Summer Olympics?

With less than six months until Paris, we look at everything from transgender competition to LGBTQ+ representation and Pride flags

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PARIS — Just 172 days remain until France hosts the Summer Games in the famed City of Light. Questions also remain about whether all the colors of the Pride flag will be inclusively illuminated when the Olympics return to Paris for the first time in a century.

The Los Angeles Blade has compiled this brief guide to the major areas of interest, with the intent to preview what queer fans can expect from this year’s event: 

  • How many out LGBTQ+ athletes will be representing both their countries and their identities and orientations
  • Restrictions on out transgender athletes, and 
  • What the International Olympic Committee is saying — so far — about athletes displaying Pride flags and rainbow colors. 

All of this is very subject to change before July 26, the opening day of the Summer Games. 

Looking Back

At the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, 36 out athletes competed among the 2,871 entered into competition, as the Los Angeles Blade reported. If the LGBTQ+ athletes were counted as one team, they would have placed 12th in terms of medal count. 

That set a record, although the numbers couldn’t compare to the last Summer Games, the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo — which were held in 2021 because of the pandemic. A historic showing in those Summer Games featured 186 out athletes, who would have ranked 11th in the medal tally if grouped together. 

Looking Ahead

Sha’Carri Richardson (Screenshot/YouTube NBC Sports)

Sha’Carri Richardson, the fastest woman in the world, will represent Team USA at the Summer Games. As the Blade reported last August, Richardson set a world record for the 100m by crossing the finish line in 10.65 seconds. She identifies as bisexual. 

Robbie Manson, the out gay rower for New Zealand, announced he qualified for Paris last September. And, to the delight of many, has remained active on OnlyFans as well, reported Out. Manson came out in 2014. 

Emma Twigg will also be competing as a rower in Paris, defending the Olympic gold medal she won in Tokyo in 2021, according to Stuff. Twigg is gay, married to her wife, Charlotte and together they have a son, Tommy, born in 2022. 

Campbell Harrison of Australia announced on Instagram in November that he qualified to compete in the category of rock climbing for the Summer Games. He came out as gay in 2021. 

Yulimar Rojas holds a world record in triple jump and was an Olympic champion in Tokyo and has already qualified to represent Venezuela in track and field in Paris. Rojas told Infobae she dreams of being “the first to open the gap of 16 [meters], it’s like another galaxy.”

Kadeisha Buchanan will lead Team Canada in their defense of their Gold Medal for Women’s Soccer in her third appearance at the Games this summer, as Humber News reported. 

Quinn, the first trans nonbinary Olympic Gold Medalist, competed as a midfielder in Canada’s soccer qualifier last September and is expected back on the pitch in Paris. 

Sadly, it looks as though Australia and Chelsea soccer star Sam Kerr is likely to miss Paris, because of a ruptured ACL. She suffered the knee injury during training three weeks ago in Morocco, reports the official Olympics website. 

Australia and Chelsea soccer star Sam Kerr. (Photo Credit: Kerr/Instagram)

There are several other out LGBTQ+ athletes who are likely to qualify. Review the Official 2024 Olympics calendar of qualifiers by clicking here. The Blade will keep you posted as we learn more. 

Transgender Competitors

The International Olympic Committee decided after the last Summer Games to issue a new “Framework for Fairness” in November 2021, which basically punted decisions on inclusion to individual sports organizations. As the Blade reported in June 2022, the International Swimming Federation, once known as FINA and now World Aquatics, decided that trans athletes must have completed their medical transition before the age of 12 to avoid “unfair advantages.”

Laurel Hubbard, a weightlifter from New Zealand, was the first out transgender athlete to compete at any Olympic Games. She made history in Tokyo, but her performance in the women’s +87kg category wasn’t what got her name into the record books. At 43, Hubbard was the oldest competitor at the 32nd Olympic Games, and after three unsuccessful lift attempts, her participation was reduced to an abduction that did not last more than 10 minutes. Given the new rules, she won’t be back in 2024. 

Following World Aquatics’ lead, Union Cycliste Internationale — the organizers of World Cycling in Switzerland — the Disc Golf Pro Tour, World Athletics, the British Triathlon Federation and the International Rugby League have changed or adopted new “transgender participation policies” that effectively ban trans women from competing with cisgender women. 

World Aquatics has since added a new “open category” in which anyone can compete, aimed at providing a way for trans swimmers to compete. But since only cisgender women can compete in the category that is designated for “women,” advocates for trans athletes consider that discriminatory. NCAA Division I Champion Lia Thomas has challenged World Aquatics at Court for Arbitration for Sport, as the Blade has reported.

Pride House

As has been a tradition at almost every Olympics — the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia being the most memorable exception — Paris will have a Pride House. “A space that will be open to everyone, where it will be possible to celebrate its community and its pride,” according to the official website. 

The Pride House will be set up at Parc de la Villette, “just a short distance from competition venues such as the La Chapelle Arena, Stade de France and even La Concorde,” the site explains. 

Symbols of Pride 

Beyond the Pride House and other “protected” locations in Paris, the International Olympic Committee has told the LGBTQ+ sports site, Outsports that it is committed to ensuring all athletes “have equal opportunities to express themselves” by holding up Pride flags or other rainbow apparel in line with the recently revised wording to its Olympic Charter and updated guidelines for participants.

You can read the changes to the charter, enacted in October 2023, by clicking here. Unchanged is the fundamental principle that “the practice of sport is a human right.”

The IOC said assessments will continue to be made on a “case-by-case” basis, according to the report. 

Paralympics

The 2024 Paralympic Games are set for Aug. 28 through Sept, 8, and out LGBTQ+ athletes are again expected to compete. Click here for more information about those games.

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Amber Glenn: 1st out LGBTQ+ USA women’s figure skating champ

Glenn posed for photographers with the gold medal around her neck and the Progress Pride flag held high and proud above her shoulders

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After Amber Glenn struggled in the second half of her free skate, Isabeau Levito left a golden opportunity to repeat as national champion slip through her fingers with a tough free skate of her own. With a total score of 210.46, Glenn claimed her first national title at the 2024 U.S. Figure Skating Championships after a decade of trying. Glenn seen here being interviewed by NBC Sports. (Screenshot/YouTube NBC Sports)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Out bisexual and pansexual figure skater Amber Glenn won the U.S. women’s figure skating championship Friday, becoming the first queer woman to take the gold medal. 

“Being the first openly queer women’s champion is incredible,” said Glenn in a post-competition interview with NBC Sports. She reflected on what’s changed since her coming out in 2019. 

“When I came out initially, I was terrified. I was scared it would affect my scores or something, but I didn’t care. “It was worth it to see the amount of young people who felt more comfortable in their environments at the rink.”

To celebrate her historic victory, Glenn posed for photographers with the gold medal around her neck and the Progress Pride flag held high and proud above her shoulders. 

Glenn, 24, won the silver medal in 2021 and the bronze last year. At the beginning of her free skate routine on Friday, she landed a complicated triple Axel, but then Glenn slipped-up two major jumps.

Defending champion Isabeau Levito also struggled, falling three times during her own routine. In the end, Glenn finished with 210.46 points to win the title. Silver medalist Josephine Lee scored 204.13 points and Levito’s 200.68 points earned her the bronze.

Given she had a rough go in this, her ninth competition, she told NBC she was in “utter shock” to have beaten Levito for the title.

“I know that both Isabeau and I are capable of so much more, but just the shock that all my hard work has paid off and the realization of what more I can do,” she said.  

That hard work started with her recovery from a concussion and broken bone around her eye, suffered when she collided with another skater at the beginning of her season.

On Instagram, Glenn’s sponsor called the victory a win not just for her but “for the LGBTQ+ community.” 

“I don’t have to try and hide the sight of me,” said Glenn. “Just because you have this aspect doesn’t mean you can’t be a top athlete.”

Amber Glenn claims her first U.S figure skating title in dramatic fashion | NBC Sports

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Nonbinary runner to NYC Marathon: Pay me

Calamia competed in the New York City Marathon on Nov. 5, 2023, eager to follow in the footsteps of the first nonbinary winner Jake Caswell

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The founder of non-binary run club (nbrc) & 2 Hot 4 Hoodies. Cal Calamia, is a queer trans poet, runner, high school health educator, and inclusivity activist originally from the Chicagoland area and resides in San Francisco with their partner. (Photo Credit: Cal Calamia)

SAN FRANCISCO — All Cal Calamia is asking for is what was promised: $5,000 in prize money for being the top nonbinary finisher in last fall’s New York City Marathon. According to Calamia, organizers claim they don’t have to pay them anything because they changed the rules for eligibility before the race, but after they registered.

Calamia, an avid runner and cross country coach for a high school in San Francisco, uses both they/them and he/him pronouns. They started a medical transition in 2019, taking testosterone. 

Last October, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency informed Calamia via email that they granted him a therapeutic use exemption to compete in male, nonbinary and open categories at U.S.A. Track and Field-governed events, all of which take place in the United States.

As the Washington Post reported at that time, Calamia is believed to be the first runner granted an exemption to compete in the nonbinary category, changing the sport and scoring a victory for nonbinary and transgender athletes. Before this, gender-affirming hormone treatments traditionally resulted in a ban of those runners from the sport.

“This approval represents a turning point in conversations about trans athletes,” Calamia told the Post. “To have this approval means I’m allowed to be part of this conversation without being sidelined.”

So instead of watching from the sidelines, Calamia competed in the New York City Marathon on Nov. 5, 2023, eager for the chance to follow in the footsteps of the first nonbinary category winner, Jake Caswell, who won in 2022 and as the Los Angeles Blade reported, was awarded $5,000.

“I was so excited to see this,” Calamia posted on Instagram ten days ago. “I registered for the 2023 race for a chance to place in the top five and win some money for once! For reference, top men and women win $100,000.

The results page shows Calamia finished first in the nonbinary category, 457th overall, with a time of 2 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds, outpacing second-place finisher and 2022 nonbinary champion Caswell by more than six minutes. 

After winning, Calamia reached out to the race organizers, the New York Road Runners, about the $5,000, and heard nothing, they said.

“NYRR did not follow up about it, so I reached out and inquired about the prize money. They responded that I am not eligible to win the money because I have not raced in 6 NYRR races in the last year. I had never heard of this and NYRR confirmed that they added this stipulation to the nonbinary prize money following my registration for the race.

“I asked that they honor the policy as it stood when I registered and they refused. Put blanky, The New York City Marathon does not in fact award top nonbinary finishers because I won and they won’t pay me. Instead of just getting to enjoy winning like everyone else when they win, I just feel shattered.

Calamia said they exchanged multiple emails with the NYRR and even had a Zoom call with them. “Unfortunately, they have considered this case closed,” said Calamia. 

The Los Angeles Blade has reached out to the NYRR for comment and have not received a response as of press time.

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Lia Thomas challenges transgender swimming ban

“Discrimination cannot be justified as necessary, reasonable, or proportionate to achieve a legitimate sporting objective”

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In March 2022, University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas became the first transgender Division I athlete to win an NCAA championship. In her first television appearance, Thomas discusses her experience with ESPN's Katie Barnes. (Screenshot/YouTube ESPN)

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — The title says it all: “Thomas v. World Aquatics.” It might as well be “Thomas versus the world,” given the global pushback against transgender athletes. But this case, confirmed on Friday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, is specific to the organization that in June 2022 banned trans swimmers from competing in elite women’s competitions, as the Los Angeles Blade reported at the time.

Related

Although only announced now, the CAS statement published Friday reveals arbitration proceedings began confidentially last September. News of the challenge was first published by the U.K. news outlet, The Telegraph

According to the CAS, Thomas’s attorney — Carlos Sayao of the law firm Tyr, based in Toronto — conceded that “fair competition is a legitimate sporting objective and that some regulation of transgender women in swimming is appropriate.” 

But then Tyr went on to argue why the CAS should declare the World Aquatics policy is “unlawful, invalid, and of no force and effect.”

“Ms. Thomas submits that the Challenged Provisions are invalid and unlawful as they discriminate against her contrary to the Olympic Charter, the World Aquatics Constitution, and Swiss law including the European Convention on Human Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; and that such discrimination cannot be justified as necessary, reasonable, or proportionate to achieve a legitimate sporting objective.”.

Sayao is himself a former elite-level competitive swimmer who won a silver medal for Canada at the World University Games in 2001 and also competed in the 2002 Commonwealth Games and the 2003 World Aquatics Championships.

He told The Telegraph the World Aquatics’ policy changes constituted a “trans ban”.

“She’s bringing the case for herself and other trans women to ensure that any rules for trans women’s participation in sport are fair, proportionate and grounded in human rights and in science,” Sayao stated to the Telegraph.

Thomas is now a law student at Drexel University who swam for the University of Pennsylvania women’s team after starting her gender transition in 2019. 

She was crowned the first trans NCAA Division I individual champion after winning the 500-yard freestyle at the Swimming and Diving Championships in Atlanta in March 2022.

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Trans pro-golfer receives death threats following women’s tour

“It’s always interesting how no one gets angry,” says Hailey Davidson, “until there is any form of success”

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Out transgender pro golfer Hailey Davidson being interviewed by Good Morning Britain. (Screenshot/YouTube Good Morning Britain)

HOWIE-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. — Out transgender pro golfer Hailey Davidson has agreed to undergo further hormone testing following a worrisome backlash to her win this month at the NXXT Women’s Classic in this suburb of Orlando, Fla. Davidson is believed to be the first out transgender golfer to win a professional women’s event.

Davidson, 31, told GolfWeek that she’s received between five and 10 death threats since her victory and has deleted her social media account on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter.

“It comes with the territory, I suppose,” she said. “No one really cares when I’m not playing well, but as soon as you play well, the whole world ends, and it’s ‘I’m destroying women’s golf now.’” Davidson added that “generally a lot of the hate comes from people who aren’t playing.”

The Scottish-born Floridian said she’s trying to take the negative attention in stride and not let it bother her: “Someone who is at home really frustrated with themselves trying to take it out on me. If I don’t laugh, I’m going to be miserable.”

Instead of misery, however, Davidson posted on Instagram her elation at taking home the NXXT trophy, calling it a surprise. 

She now tops the tour’s points list. But given international media reports about the so-called furor over her victory from the likes of Piers Morgan have misled readers into thinking she’s just a few strokes away from competing in the LPGA, Davidson said she welcomes both the additional hormone test and a newly-announced survey of fellow golfers, “to cool the fire down a little.”

Stuart McKinnon, CEO of the NXXT, formerly the East Coast Women’s Pro Golf Tour, announced the anonymous poll in a statement Monday as he addressed Davidson’s victory.

“The recent discussions surrounding Hailey Davidson’s participation and success on our tour have highlighted a range of viewpoints,” McKinnon wrote. “The NXXT Women’s Pro Tour acknowledges these perspectives while emphasizing that our policies and decisions are guided by the frameworks set by the LPGA and USGA. Our primary focus remains on supporting our players’ aspirations and contributing to their journey towards the LPGA.”

“At this point, we’re trying anything to see if we can cool the fire down a little,” Davidson told GolfWeek. “I think we forget that people are actually humans.”

She was three shots back with two to play and wound up clinching her first title in 2 ½ years by beating 24 players in the three-round event earlier this week. Davidson won the trophy after a playoff against Lauren Miller. 

The victory bolstered her chances of earning exemptions on the Epson Tour, as the top five earners on the NXXT points list earn two exemptions into Epson Tour fields.

However, as GolfWeek reported, to those unfamiliar with how the tour works, Davidson might appear to be closing-in on those exemptions, but she’s very far off the fairway, so to speak. For players to receive exemptions, the NXXT must have a minimum of 10 events with an average of 40 players, and so far, the NXXT fields are well short of that number.

She said she’s not particularly worried about her place on the NXXT going forward, given that she meets the requirements of both the LPGA’s and USGA’s gender policies.

On Sept. 24, 2015 – a date GolfWeek reported is tattooed on her right forearm – Davidson began her medical transition, and in January 2021 she underwent gender confirmation surgery, which is required under the LPGA’s Gender Policy.

That same year, 2021, Davidson became the second transgender player to compete in LPGA Q-School, but ultimately did not make the cut. 

This week, Davidson told GolfWeek she already took the required additional testosterone test and expects to get the results back on Monday.

The golfer told SkyNews while she supports transgender inclusion in sports, she does believe trans participation in sports should be regulated. 

“Trans athletes shouldn’t be banned, but at the same time, there needs to be regulations in place because it shouldn’t just be a free for all,” she said.

“I recognize that I did have an unfair advantage a few years ago,” Davidson told SkyNews. “I’ve been transitioning for nine years. I’ve been on hormones for almost nine years, I had surgery… coming up almost on three years. I’ve lost just over 50 miles an hour swing speed.”

Her dream is to earn a place on the LPGA Tour and compete at the Scottish Open, but right now she dismisses those who think she’s two strokes away from those goals. 

“I am so incredibly far from the LPGA Tour with a lot of work to be done to possibly earn my way there one day,” Davidson posted on her Instagram.

Transgender Golfer Hailey Davidson’s Safety Concerns After US Tournament Win | Good Morning Britain:

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Out gay World Champion pole vaulter Shawn Barber dead at 29

A dual citizen of the U.S. & Canada, the Olympian, World Champion and three-time NCAA Champion had been dealing with an ongoing illness

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Shawn Barber (Photo Credit University of Akron Athletics, Track & Field)

KINGWOOD, Texas — Olympian, World Champion and three-time NCAA Champion Shawn Barber died Wednesday from medical complications. He was 29. 

Barber came out as gay in a post on Facebook in April 2017, one year after a sexual encounter with a woman nearly cost him his chance to compete in the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

Although no cause of death has been released, his alma mater, the University of Akron, announced Thursday that he had fallen ill and had been struggling with poor health “for some time.” 

“More than just an incredible athlete, Shawn was such a good-hearted person that always put others ahead of himself,” Barber’s agent, Paul Doyle, told the Associated Press. “It’s tragic to lose such a good person at such a young age.”

Doyle shared photos of Barber on his Instagram page, captioning them “A friend that will never be forgotten” and “He will be greatly missed.”

Other tributes shared on social media include those from Athletics Canada and World Athletics.  

Former Akron men’s and women’s track and field and cross country coach Dennis Mitchell described Barber to the Akron Beacon Journal as “extremely smart” and “the nicest guy ever.”

Barber’s best vault was 19-8¼ or 6.0 meters on Jan. 15, 2016, in Reno, Nevada. That remains the record in Canada, the country which Barber represented in competitions all around the world. 

His untimely death is being mourned across the globe. 

Barber was born in 1994 in Las Cruces, N.M. He held dual Canadian-American citizenship as his father, George, a former pole vaulter himself and also Shawn’s former coach, was born in Kincardine, Ontario. The Barbers split time between Texas and Toronto, Canada.

At the 2015 world championships in Beijing, China, Barber took home a gold medal with a mark of 5.9 meters, earning Canada its first athletics world title in 12 years and its first-ever world’s pole vault medal.

Just a month earlier, Barber won his third of five Canadian titles and Pan American Games gold medals in Toronto.

Also that year, he won the NCAA outdoor title for his university’s team, the Zips, adding to the second of back-to-back indoor titles that season.

Barber was also awarded bronze and silver medals at the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games, and he last competed in 2020. 

His athletic career was nearly ended when Barber tested positive for traces of cocaine in a drug test before the 2016 Rio Olympics. Barber called the positive test “a complete shock.”

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport wanted to ban him from competition for four years, including the Olympics.

But according to a report by the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada, Barber ingested the cocaine during a sexual encounter with a woman, the night before he won a Canadian national title in Edmonton.

The woman testified she secretly consumed cocaine before she met Barber, and then again in the bathroom of his hotel room. At his hearing, she said he could not have known she’d used the drug.

The court ruled that Barber had unknowingly ingested the drug through kissing. After it was determined he inadvertently ingested the banned substance, Barber was allowed to compete in Rio and instead stripped him of his 2016 national title.

“This has been a learning experience for Shawn, he is a young athlete learning how to compete on the field of play, and prepare away from it,” Athletics Canada said in a statement at the time.

Barber finished 10th at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. 

The following year, Barber posted on Facebook: “Gay and proud! Thank you to my parents for being such a great support. I continue to grow as a person and have a great support group. My parents are my greatest support and have helped me through a lot recently. To my friends, you are always my friends and I love you too!”

Barber is survived by his mother, father and brother.

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UFC star launches anti-LGBTQ+ tirade during press conference

Canadian sports journalist Alexander K. Lee asked Strickland about previous comments he made about gay and trans people

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Sean Strickland goes off on reporter questioning his past anti-LGBTQ+ comments: 'Go Fuck Yourself' (Screenshot/YouTube MMA Junkie)

TORONTO, Canada – During the UFC 297 pre-fight media day Wednesday in Toronto, ahead of the championship fight on Saturday, American mixed martial artist and UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland tangled with a reporter over the fighter’s past public homophobic comments.

Canadian sports journalist Alexander K Lee asked Strickland about previous comments he made about gay and trans people. The 32-year-old fighter, who has been open about his past embracing neo-Nazi ideology, launched into a vulgar tirade:

“The world’s not buying your fucking bullshit you’re fucking peddling. The world is not saying, ‘You know what? You’re right. Fucking chicks have dicks.’ The world’s not saying that. The world’s saying, ‘No, there are two genders. I don’t want my kids being taught about who they could fuck in school. I don’t want my kids being taught about their sexual preference.’”

[Age restricted] Sean Strickland Goes OFF on Reporter Questioning Past LGBTQ Comments: ‘Go F*ck Yourself’ | 16:57 timestamp mark:

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Riley Gaines to lead anti-trans protest at NCAA convention

The final say on transgender students’ rights may be made this year by the U.S. Supreme Court, as the Los Angeles Blade has reported

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Riley Gaines testifies during Senate hearing against equal rights for trans female athletes. (Screenshot/YouTube C-SPAN)

PHOENIX, AZ — The National Collegiate Athletic Association is being targeted this week by a coalition of cisgender-centered activist groups, led by the Independent Women’s Forum’s paid “ambassador,” former college athlete and transphobe Riley Gaines. 

The transgender-exclusionary groups announced the “We Won’t Back Down Rally” on the “Our Bodies, Our Sports” website. Their plan is to protest outside the NCAA’s annual convention in Phoenix at 11 a.m. MST on Thursday and demand the organization permanently ban trans women athletes from competing in women’s sports.

“Female athletes work our entire lives to compete in sports, only to have the NCAA destory [sic] our even playing field,” is what the groups claim, apparently without checking their spelling or the facts. 

“There is no such thing as a level playing field,” maintains NCAA’s first out trans Division I athlete and author of He/She/They, Schuyler Bailar, in a 2023 interview with Daily Blast Live. “Sports is based on the fact that everyone interacts differently.” 

From 2011 to 2022, the NCAA’s original policy was “to ensure transgender student-athletes fair, respectful, and legal access to collegiate sports teams based on current medical and legal knowledge,” establishing a landmark standard of equality in sports as a human right. 

Under pressure from anti-trans activists like the ones holding Thursday’s rally, the NCAA instituted its current NCAA policy in January 2022. Updated in April 2023, the policy requires trans women to complete 12 months of testosterone suppression treatment before they can compete on a team against other women. 

The policy also requires transgender student-athletes to meet the sport standard for documented testosterone levels prior to any competition during the regular season, prior to the first competition in an NCAA championship event, and prior to any competition in the non-championship segment.

The groups demonstrating on Thursday in Phoenix also say they are demanding NCAA President Charlie Baker revoke the current transgender participation policy. 

The formerly trans-inclusive policy was replaced with this new restrictive policy just before Lia Thomas competed in the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships in Atlanta. The organization allowed Thomas to compete despite USA Swimming’s new, more restrictive policy, which required testosterone suppression for 36 months. That change was made as collegiate swimmers were in the middle of the competitive season, and just weeks before the NCAA championships. 

For those reasons, Thomas was allowed to compete in line with the International Olympic Committee’s and the NCAA’s tradition of asserting an athlete’s right to participate in sport without discrimination and its commitment to diversity, inclusion and gender equity. 

Thomas went on to finish first in the 500-freestyle and become the nation’s first out trans Division I National Champion. She then tied with Gaines for 5th place in the 200-freestyle, and was presented with the NCAA 5th place trophy, while Gaines was told hers would be mailed to her, something she has complained about bitterly in the press. Right-wing media has made Gaines their darling, even spreading lies and false rumors that the NCAA was going to take Thomas’s trophy and give it to Gaines. 

One of Thomas’s former University of Pennsylvania teammates, Paula Scanlan is joining Gaines, a graduate of the University of Kentucky, at Thursday’s rally. 

In an interview with the British conservative website dailymail.com, Scanlan revealed she is a “survivor of sexual assault” and claimed she was “forced to undress in front of a man every day before getting in the pool at Penn,” misgendering Thomas. “The NCAA sponsored this repeat trauma through its failure to recognize women’s sports. We beg the NCAA to give women our dignity back.”

“Sex-based categories are important for competitive sports just like age classifications and weight categories,” Gaines told the website. “We are asking very little of the NCAA: maintain the fairness necessary for competition and safety.”

Last month, Gaines used her social media influence to out a closeted transgender teenager, resulting in the student-athlete reportedly losing a sports scholarship to the University of Washington, according to LGBTQ Nation.

In addition to drawing a salary as a paid “ambassador” for the Independent Women’s Forum, Gaines was also paid by Gov. Ron DeSantis for her anti-trans contributions to his policies banning trans student-athletes and gender-affirming care in Florida.

The coalition participating in this 4th annual “Our Bodies, Our Sports” rally also includes the Women’s Sports Policy Working Group, the Independent Council on Women’s Sports, Champion Women, the Women’s Liberation Front, the International Consortium on Female Sport, WDI USA, Concerned Women for America, the Independent Women’s Network, Young Women for America, the Independent Women’s Law Center and the Alliance Defending Freedom. 

ADF, a conservative Christian law group labeled an extremist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, has been fighting to establish anti-trans laws and reverse trans inclusion policies across the U.S., and succeeded in more than 22 states. It was also the driving force that led the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse Roe v. Wade in 2022. In 2023, Tennessee was among the first to cite the Dobbs decision in outlawing gender-affirming care. 

The final say on transgender students’ rights may be made this year by the U.S. Supreme Court, as the Los Angeles Blade has reported. Until then, researchers say there’s a paucity of data to draw a solid conclusion about fairness. “Without further research, a blanket ban on transgender women competing in women’s sports needlessly forecloses on their inclusion,” wrote author and professor Alan Levinowitz of James Madison University in the Wall Street Journal. 

For that article, he quoted Johanna Harper, Ph.D, a transgender woman, runner and researcher. “Trans women also have unique disadvantages,” she said, among them the difficulty of moving a larger bone structure with muscle mass reduced through hormone therapy. “It’s not unreasonable to suggest that trans women don’t have any advantage,” said Harper, “and also not unreasonable to suggest they do.”

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