In ESPN's upcoming annual "Body Issue," on shelves July 6th, in which the magazine shows athletes from all types of sports in "artful" nude poses, an openly transgender athlete will be featured for the first time.
The athlete is Chris Mosier, 35, a transgender man who competed at the dauthlon championship this year with the U.S. national team.
"I have had such an interesting relationship with my body and it has really evolved over time, so I felt this was a real challenge for me and a great way to celebrate where I am at right now," said Mosier on Wednesday, according to The New York Times. "It felt amazing, given that for 29 years of my life I didn’t even like being in pictures."
Senior deputy editor at ESPN, Neely Lohmann, said in a statement that "vulnerability and empowerment are a focus for the issue each year." The magazine's editor in chief, Alison Overholt, added that the goal was to encourage the athletes to show “the mental and emotional journey they’ve each been on to embrace what is different, unique and often imperfect about their own bodies and body stories.”
ESPN's "empowerment" mission earned the praised of LGBT activists. National LGBTQ Task Force attorney Victoria M. Rodríguez-Roldán commended ESPN's "bold statement" and took the opportunity to call for a "strong federal law" protecting transgenders.
"For example, our nation still lacks a strong federal law that protects transgender people against discrimination," said Rodríguez-Roldán. "This means that to this day too many transgender high school athletes are denied the opportunity to compete in the sport in which they excel."
Click below for an interview with Mosier discussing the transition from female to male and the concern of being "barred from international competition because he hasn't undergone specific surgeries."
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