Chris Mosier says he did not let an ugly slur stop him, or even slow him down.
Some random man called the transgender triathlete “faggot” on Tuesday, while Mosier was training on a public track. He called it one of the best moments of his day.
Mosier — who is a hall of fame triathlete, an All-American duathlete and a 6-time member of Team USA — wrote in a personal essay on LinkedIn Tuesday evening that he was just starting his workout wearing “booze cruise sunglasses” when this man, headed in his direction, passed him. Mosier said that somehow, he could feel the slur coming in his gut.
But just as quickly, the moment passed, and he kept running. “I didn’t even break my stride,” Mosier wrote.
What made the Illinois native so happy, he said, was that his non-reaction showed just how much he had grown since hearing that slur as a younger person.
Mosier wrote: “It didn’t sting the way past instances of the same type have... This is not the reaction all past versions of myself would have had when he called me ‘faggot’ today.”
These days, said Mosier, “I am super queer and I wear it proudly — but more than that, I am so good with being me. Comfortable. Confident. Unshaken and unbothered. And that is a very good place to be.”
Mosier added: “We can’t control other people and what they say or do but we can control our reactions.” By not reacting, Mosier took away the man’s power to hurt him, he said.
From that point on, the triathlete ran a 5K and had what he called an excellent day of training.
“We have the opportunity each day to decide if it’s going to be a good day in our perspective,” Mosier wrote. “This gave me fuel, and I am grateful. Perhaps it is odd to think that being called a hateful slur could be a highlight of one’s day, but this was a gift that brought me some incredible insight to where I am now, where I hope to be, and the necessity of following this path to accomplish what will make easier paths for others.”
Simply by existing, and by playing sports, Mosier and so many other LGBTQ athletes are strengthening themselves and inspiring us, denying haters the power to take our strength away from us.
As this trailblazing athlete wrote: “It’s all in how you look at it.”