Today, Nike released a groundbreaking ad featuring Chris Mosier, a transgender duathlete, who was chosen for Team USA for the 2016 World Championship. The ad will air on NBC during the Olympics.
Mosier is the first transgender athlete to qualify for a U.S. national team, earning a spot on the Team USA sprint duathlon men’s squad for the 2016 World Championships.
During the ad featuring Mosier training and in competition, he is asked a series of questions: “How did you know you’d be fast enough to compete against men?” “Or strong enough?” “How’d you know the team would accept you? Or that you’d even be allowed to compete?”
To each question, Mosier replies “I didn’t” as he runs and cycles
The final question? “Didn’t you ever want to give up?”
Mosier: “Yeah - but I didn’t.”
The ad ends with two powerful words that embody Mosier and his accomplishments: Unlimited courage.
Mosier - who began competing as a transgender man in 2010 - qualified for Team USA in 2015, but was unsure of policies relating to transgender athletes that could hinder his ability to compete. He immediately reached out to governing bodies including the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Triathlon Union. In January of this year, the IOC ruled that transgender athletes are eligible for competition without having undergone gender-affirming surgery. While he can compete at the World Championships, duathlon is not an Olympic sport.
“As a result of getting the Olympic policy changed, and being able to compete myself in the World Championship, now there are young people out there who are just falling in love with sports, who can be their authentic self and play the sports that they love, and potentially be in the Olympics and not have to negotiate their gender identity in order to play the sports that they love,” he told ESPN when he made history earlier this year as the first known out transgender athlete to appear in ESPN’s annual Body Issue.
“For so long as a transgender person, the body that I had before I transitioned never matched what I thought that my body should be,” Mosier told ESPN in a video interview. “It feels good to know that other people after me will be able to look to someone for an example. To me, that’s the most magical moment.”
After coming out, Mosier has become a vocal advocate for transgender equality, most recently speaking out against North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2 law, which, among its anti-LGBTQ provisions, prevents transgender people from using restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity.
“At a Team USA qualifying race in North Carolina in June (which decides the 2017 roster), Mosier couldn't even use the restroom due to the currently standing HB2 law,” Rolling Stone reported.
“I knew that the minute I said, 'I'm a trans athlete,' that I would never get away from it," he said. "But I asked myself, 'Why does it matter?' Well, it matters because there was no one else out there saying it."
Mosier is also the founder of http://www.transathlete.com/, “a resource for students, athletes, coaches, and administrators to find information about trans inclusion in athletics at various levels of play.”
Nike is an industry leader in the fight for LGBTQ equality, earning top marks on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index for over a decade, supporting marriage equality, speaking out against discriminatory legislation and supporting the Equality Act.
HRC congratulates Mosier on this immense honor and thanks Nike for sharing Mosier’s inspiring story.