The Way I See Myself
“Why aren’t people seeing me the way I see myself?”
That is a question Chris Mosier often pondered as a child. “I remember people telling me that little girls didn’t do this or that—they didn’t skateboard or wear their hats backward,” he explains. “I was confident in who I was, but I was getting messages that I wasn’t supposed to be that way.”
It wasn’t until years later—before enrolling at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development to complete a master’s in higher education—that Mosier finally had the language and tools to identify as a transgender man. “My journey of self-understanding really aligns with entering NYU,” he says. “It was a testing ground for me to live as my authentic self and see what that was like.”
A longtime competitive athlete, Mosier also began taking testosterone to compete as a man. “I had not seen any transgender men competing with men, so it was a leap of faith to go into men’s sports. I didn’t know if I would be accepted,” he recalls.
His first competition as a male, Iron Man Florida, was more than 11 hours long. “But I thought, ‘This is not hard. Living the rest of my life as a trans man is hard—having to explain myself everywhere I go, advocating for policies to make me feel safe—but not this,’ ” he says.
After that race, Mosier publicly came out as a trans man, and in 2015 he became the first known transgender athlete to qualify for a men’s US national team. A five-time member of Team USA in duathlon and triathlon, he was named an All American Duathlete in 2016—“competing,” he says, “against the best of the best from other countries.” In addition to serving as the catalyst for the International Olympic Committee to change its policy on transgender athletes, Mosier is the first transgender athlete to be sponsored by Nike and appear in one of its ads as well as the first to appear in ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue.
Founder of transathlete.com, Mosier is now a prominent spokesperson for transgender athletes. “I started the site in 2013, and it’s now the main resource for coaches, athletes, administrators, and sports leagues about policies regarding trans athletes, which can vary state by state and internationally,” he says. “My goal was to help anyone who wants to play sports have an easier time than I did—to use my website as a way to make the landscape of sports safer and more inclusive for trans people.”
Inspiring transgender kids to do the sports they love, says Mosier, is his greatest athletic accomplishment. “Visibility is a powerful tool for social change,” he says. “The more we have out, visible role models, people who are being their authentic selves, the more that others will see that they can do that, too. That’s my goal in sharing my story.”
(Portrait by Simons Finnerty)
“My journey of self-understanding really aligns with entering NYU. It was a testing ground for me to live as my authentic self and see what that was like.”