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The First Known Out Transgender Athlete Has Joined Men's Team USA

For the first time in known history an out transgender athlete will compete on a national team based on his gender identity and not his assigned sex at birth.

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Back in February, BuzzFeed Health profiled eight transgender athletes who told their stories about fitness and competition. One of those athletes was triathlete Chris Mosier.

This past weekend Mosier made history by earning a spot on the men's national team at the 2016 World Duathalon Championship.

Zhen Heinemann

With his finish (seventh in his age group in the sprint duathlon, a run-bike-run event in which competitors run about 1.5 miles, bike 14 miles, and then run 1.5 miles) Mosier became the first ever (known) out transgender athlete who will compete on a U.S. national team as the gender that matches their identity, rather than their assigned sex at birth.

Mosier has been racing in triathalons since 2009 but has only been competing in the men's category since late 2010.

Zhen Heinemann

Back in February, he told BuzzFeed Life that he put off transitioning because he wasn't sure how it would impact his ability to compete.

"Before transition I was thinking about [competing in the men's category] and wondering if I'd be able to be competitive. Being an athlete is such a big part of my identity. Five years ago when I started transitioning, I wouldnt've thought this was possible. But as my training has gotten smarter and I've become more dedicated to the sport, I set my sights on this and have been training for it. I was confident this would be my year," he told BuzzFeed Life.


Mosier has already had success competing in triathlons and duathalons in the men's category.

In 2014 Mosier won his age group and placed fourth overall in an Ironman distance triathlon (that's a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26.2-mile run). He also won his first overall win in the men's category at the Staten Island Flat as a Pancake Duathalon (a 1.5-mile run, 12-mile bike ride, and a 3.2-mile run).

Mosier is also an advocate for transgender athletes at all levels. He is the executive director of GO! Athletes, a support network of current and former LGBTQ collegiate and high school athletes. And his site is a resource for information about transgender inclusion in athletics.

Mosier said that the response from his teammates and the athletic community has been great.

"People who know me obviously know how hard I've worked for this and how hard my training has been, so everyone wanted me to succeed as an athlete. I think some of the people I work out with had no idea I was trans but everyone has been super supportive," Mosier said.

As Laverne Cox pointed out, increased transgender inclusion in sports is something to celebrate.

Omg so proud of you @TheChrisMosier this is something to truly celebrate #TransIsBeautiful #teamUSA

Especially since other transgender athletes haven't been given similar opportunities to compete. Mixed martial artist Fallon Fox and CrossFit athlete Chloie Jonsson, for example, have both faced barriers to competing in the category consistent with their gender.

Athletes are sometimes barred from competing in the category that matches their gender identity because of fears that hormone replacement therapy gives some transgender athletes an unfair advantage. The Advocate points out, "The growing consensus among medical professionals is that after a certain time spent on clinical treatment, transgender athletes have hormonal levels largely similar to cisgender (nontrans) competitors, offering them no substantial "advantage" in their chosen sport."

Different organizations have different rules about transgender inclusions but as the NCAA's statement on transgender student-athletes says, "Transgender student-athletes fall within the spectrum of physical traits found in athletes of their transitioned gender, allowing them to compete fairly and equitably."

Chris Mosier is the executive director of GO! Athletes. The original version of this article misstated his role in the company.

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