Caitlyn Jenner has dominated the media with her shocking transformation, so much perhaps that many have forgotten who she was before. The fact is, Bruce Jenner was a well-known athlete when he married Kris, but claims that even then, Caitlyn wasn’t comfortable in his skin. But if you think Bruce becoming Caitlyn is the only instance of a transgender athlete, here are several sportsmen and women to prove you wrong.
1. Chloe Anderson
As the first transgender athlete at Santa Ana Collega, CA, volleyball player Chloe Anderson received a lot of flack for her transformation.
She says, “People who say male-to-female trans athletes have a physical advantage have never taken hormones. It’s one thing to learn about it in biology class but another thing to live it.”
2. Kye Allums
Kye – formerly Kyler – Allums was playing in the NCAA Division on George Washington University’s women’s team when he decided to make it known to the world that he didn’t want to be a “she” any longer.
Kye received both positive and negative reactions to his transformation but is not a trangender activist and public speaker, supporting LBGT youth.
3. Jaiyah Saelua
“Fa’afafine is the third gender specific to the Samoan culture, but the stereotypes associated with fa’afafine are mostly positive…”
These are the words of Jaiyah (formerly Johnny) Saelua, the first ever transgender player to compete in the FIFA World Cup qualifier for American Samoa back in 2011. According to her, Samoan culture is far more accepting and tolerant of transgender individuals – a trait which our own culture should follow!
4. Chris Mosier
A marathon was not the only victory for Chris Mosier. In 2015, he became the first ever transgender athlete to be allowed to join a team that actually matched his gender, not his birth identity. He runs a website, TransAthlete.com, in support of LGBT athletes.
5. Lana Lawless
When Lawless won the 2009 Long Drivers of America title, it sparked somewhat of a controversy. The organization immediately changed its rules stating that a female player must be born a female in order to be allowed to compete. In response, Lawless sued the LPGA and the rules were amended again.
6. Dr. Bobbi Lancaster (formerly Robert Lancaster)
Just a couple of years after Lawless changed the golfing rule book for the better, Dr. Bobbi (Robert) Lancaster, a respected physician, stepped onto the LPGA scene and was the first transgender golf player to compete on the Symetra Tour.
7. Erik Schinegger
Erika Schinegger was a female world champion skier, preparing to enter the 1968 Olympics when IOC medical tests revealed that she actually had internal male sex organs! She was instantly disqualified from the downhill women’s race but her dedication to the sport led to her decision to make the huge gender transformation. Erik embraced his male identity and even authored an ins
8. Andreas Krieger
Andreas Krieger is an interesting case. As a teenager, then “Heidi” Krieger was given anabolic steroids by her shotputting coaches. Heidi was unaware of the fact and eventually began to develop masculine features. She came to the point where she gave up struggling with her identity and underwent gender reassigning surgery, becoming Andreas. He has since expressed his disappointment in the choices of his coaches and wished he had had the choice to discover his own sexual identity.
9. Keelin Godsey
Keelin Godsey is a 16-time champion in track and field and is the first transgender athlete to compete on the U.S. Olympic team. Born “Kelly”, Godsey has identified as a male for over ten years but is forced to compete as a female according to Olympic rules.
10. Caster Semenya
South African runner, Caster Semenya is perhaps one of the most well-known transgender athletes in history. Her sexual identity has been a controvesial issue with the IAAF since 2009 when she won the gold for the 800-meter sprint and began receiving emails from those suspicious of her gender due to her masculine features. Leaked results showed that Semenya bears no female sex organs, however the genuiness of this report has never been confirmed and she continues to compete as a female.
11. Fallon Fox
The MMA’s first openly trans fighter was Fallon Fox. After serving in the military, Fox made the decision to secretly undergo gender reassignment surgery in Thailand back in 2006. But 6 years later a reporter pretty much blackmailed Fox into revealing her transformation and the controversy over her fighting as a female began.
12. Mianne Bagger
The famous Australian golfer, Mianne Bagger became the first openly trans woman to compete in a professional tournament as the gender that she chose rather than the one with which she was born. Basically she was Caitlyn Jenner before Caitlyn Jenner was Caitlyn Jenner.
13. Dr. Renee Richards
She used to be known as Robert, but became well-known as her chosen identity, Renee. The professional tennis player made history when the New York Supreme Court ruled that she could play as a woman following her gender reassignment in 1975. She open the gates for transgender athletes like Fox and Allums, and many others.
14. Caitlyn Jenner (formerly William Bruce Jenner)
Back in the 70s, Bruce Jenner was an Olympic gold medal champion and known as one of the greatest athletes on the planet. Later, he became known among younger generations as the odd, quirky step-father of the Kardashian sisters. Following the divorce from his wife, Kris, Jenner spend months out of the spotlight until reemerging not as himself but reinvented as Caitlyn Jenner. Caitlyn currently has her own TV show and seems to be living a much happier life.
14 WELL-KNOWN TRANSGENDER ATHLETES
The world of sports is still a frustrating place for transgender athletes, and much of modern society has a lot of sorting out to do, but at least some organizations and companies are beginning to pave the way for transgender acceptance, much like the recent decision by Target.