Meet Chris Mosier, The First Transgender Athlete Featured In ESPN’s Body Issue

On a day when #HeterosexualPrideDay is trending both ironically and with full sincerity, it’s important to be reminded of the strides being made when it comes to treating members of the LGBTQ community as equals. Duathlete Chris Mosier is not only the first transgender athlete to qualify for a U.S. national team, but he is also now the first transgender athlete to appear in ESPN’s Body Issue. Mosier is an amazing athlete with a sculpted bod that the whole world will be blessed to see in the upcoming magazine.

With the gender-neutral bathroom policy still meeting a lot of resistance and conservative Americans still advocating for inequality in 2016, it’s encouraging to see transgender people excelling and being accepted for who they are. Just this week, two transgender candidates won Congressional primaries for Utah and Colorado, and the decision to include Mosier in the Body Issue brings transgender awareness to the sports world too.

It is absolutely a good sign. Even if the decision was made with the intent of making money (I mean, what isn’t?), I’d like to give ESPN the benefit of the doubt here. The interview Mosier had with ESPN’s Christina Kahrl is nothing short of inspiring, not only for the transgender community, but for everyone who has struggled with being comfortable in their own body.

As is custom with the Body Issue, Mosier posed nude, which was a big deal for someone who used to avoid being photographed altogether. Mosier told ESPN:

“For 29 years of my life, I didn’t want to be in pictures because what was reflected back to me was not the way I felt or the way I saw myself. I struggled with that for a really long time — of not even wanting to be in photos at all. And so now, to be at a point where I not only want to be in photos but with no clothes in photos is tremendous.”

Aside from this photo shoot, Mosier has been a trailblazer within the world of professional sports. Last year, he became the first transgender athlete to make the U.S. national team of their gender identity, not the gender assigned to them at birth, when he won a spot on Team USA in the men’s sprint duathlon (which is running, biking, and running again). It may surprise you where he qualified for his second national team — he told ESPN:

“There are certainly parts of our country that are really struggling with understanding that they should treat all people with dignity and respect. That was one of the reasons I was very proud to qualify for my second national team in North Carolina, of all places — being a state that is not very trans-friendly. I sort of feel like I’m representing the good parts of the country, and it’s important for people to see me as a representative of Team USA, because I think it represents the direction that we should go in.”

The issue hits newsstands July 8, so mark your calendar.