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Trans triathlete Chris Mosier may be barred from competing at World Championships

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Chris Mosier has qualified for the World Duathlon Championships. Yet because he's a trans man, he may be barred from competing.

Chris Mosier at the USA Triathlon Championships
Chris Mosier at the USA Triathlon Championships

Few athletes are the embodiment of courage and change more than Chris Mosier. The triathlete and duathlete, who happens to be a trans man, has found incredible success since transitioning. He's been the subject of inspiring pieces by the New York Times and ESPN (in addition to Outsports, of course). Last summer he qualified for the U.S. SprintDuathlon Team (running and biking) set to compete at the World Championships set for Aviles, Spain, this June.

Yet less than five months out, Mosier is unsure if he will be allowed to compete in the World Championships where he has earned a spot on the starting line, and he has a GoFundMe page to fight the policy that will likely keep him barred.

The International Triathlon Union, which oversees various multi-event sports and runs the World Duathlon Championships, has informed Mosier that he must fill out a Request to Participate form before getting clearance to compete. That form, according to Mosier, requires a transgender athlete to complete three steps of transition, as outlined by the International Olympic Committee:

  • They must have had gender reassignment surgery
  • They must have legal recognition of their assigned gender
  • They must have at least two years of hormone therapy

While Mosier meets two of those criteria, he has not completed his gender-reassignment surgery so will fail to meet the requirements of the ITU and IOC.

In reality, that part of the IOC policy was never intended to apply to trans men. The reason that policy is there is to prevent trans women from having testicles and, the argument goes, higher testosterone levels (which, of course, can be chemically blocked). We're told that having breasts is a disadvantage and that having a penis is an advantage -- if a trans man has breasts or doesn't have a penis, where on earth is the dreaded "unfair advantage"?

It's the (in all likelihood) unintended consequence of an IOC policy that is outdated and never considered its application to a trans man in the first place. The assumption has always been that a trans man - born in a female body - would never be able to compete with cisgender men because men are, as we all know (that's snark), far superior athletes to women.

Mosier has faced low expectations for years, assumed to be just another guy out there on the weekends running for fun. That's not Mosier. He's a dedicated elite athlete who has earned a spot at the World Championship by beating countless cisgender men along the way, winning races and finishing in a qualifying spot at the U.S. Championship.

In the eyes of the people who created the IOC policy, Mosier was never supposed to exist. Yet here he is, stuck being held to a policy that was never intended to apply to him.

The IOC is rumored to be releasing new trans guidelines, yet no one knows when. The Championship is two months before the Olympics, and Mosier needs time to organize his trip if he's going to Spain.

While he's hoping for the best, he's already retained legal counsel in case he's denied permission to compete by the ITU. Carlos Sayao and James Bunting of Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, based in Toronto, are advising Mosier and preparing to take action if he has barred from the competition for which he has qualified. They previously worked with Dutee Chand, the Indian sprinter who won an international case that bars the use of tests for testosterone levels to determine eligibility to compete as a woman.

In the meantime, Mosier is training as hard as ever, preparing for the biggest stage an out trans man has ever had in sports.

You can donate to Mosier's GoFundMe page to provide him with the resources to fight the IOC policy. It won't be a cheap fight.