“I remember sitting in therapy, prior to coming out, and thinking ‘is it safe do this?’ And then I decided it wasn’t a matter of ‘can it be done?’ but ‘why not me?’”
Chris Mosier became the first transgender athlete to represent the United States in international competition when he took part in the Duathlon World Championships in 2016.
Four years later, he became the first athlete to compete in an Olympic trial in a sex different to the one assigned at birth.
He did not finish the race walking event in January because of injury, but Mosier is a two-time national champion, a hall of fame triathlete and was at the forefront of the International Olympic Committee’s decision to change rules on transgender athletes.
“I often think about the four-minute mile – once Roger Bannister broke it, numerous people did it after him,” Mosier, 40.
“And I think if someone can do it, why can’t it be me?”
Mosier competed as a female athlete in triathlon before beginning his transition in 2010.
“I delayed my transition by a year and a half because I was terrified that I would lose sport,” he said.
“I never thought I’d walk away from it – I thought it would be taken away from me.”
‘Put simply, people don’t think I’m a threat’
When Mosier qualified for the Duathlon World Championships in 2016, IOC rules stated athletes must have had gender reassignment surgery, as well as two years of hormone therapy and legal recognition of their assigned gender, before competing.
Mosier had not had the operation, but he successfully campaigned for the IOC to update their rules around surgery.
He finished 144th out of the total 434 competitors, and 26th out of the 47 men in his 35-39 age group.
Since then, Mosier has featured in his own commercial and was the first trans athlete to feature in the ESPN Body Issue.
However, he feels that trans women in sport are viewed negatively, with unfair attention put on those who want to compete.
“My experience has been that, put simply, people don’t think I’m a threat to male competitors,” he added.
“People think because trans women were assigned male at birth, they have some kind of advantage over any other woman, and it’s simply not true.
“I think people often don’t talk about me or my case because I don’t support their views on trans people not being able to participate in sport.”