BOISE, Idaho — He was the first transgender athlete to represent the United States in international competition and first transgender athlete to qualify for the Olympic Trials in the gender in which they identify.
Chris Mosier is also the first transgender athlete to be sponsored by Nike.
Mosier didn't become the first transgender athlete to make the US Olympic team in racewalking. However, that hasn't slowed him down from trying to stop Idaho from becoming the first state to ban transgender women and girls from competing with other women and girls in athletic competition.
Mosier flew from Chicago to Boise in the middle of training for his Olympic qualifier to speak out against a series of bills making their way through the statehouse.
"There are so many great people in this state, on the ground doing work to combat these bad bills," Mosier said. "My role as an athlete with this platform and social media is that I have the opportunity to amplify the message that other people are sending."
Currently, there are five pieces of legislation making their way through the statehouse this session, including House Bill 500 which would ban transgender athletes from competing on teams opposite their birth gender.
Representative Barbara Ehardt (R - Idaho Falls) introduced the bill, saying it is a problem throughout the nation, which she says continues to grow.
"We also know through the data that there are more people who are here in Idaho who are maybe making decisions to maybe make a transition from a boy or a man to a girl or a woman and since those statistics are increasing, people's choices are increasing, we also know that it's not a matter of if, but when this becomes more of a factor here in Idaho," Rep. Ehardt said.
The Idaho High School Activities Association said they've had a handful of transgender students inquire about competing but none have ever tried.
"This is an entry point for further discrimination, not only against the transgender community, not only against transgender youth but more discrimination to women and girls, to communities of color to racial minorities to religious minorities and to anyone who is not straight, cisgender and white," Mosier said. "The thing about these bills is that they are intended to "solve" a problem that doesn't really exist. It is a "problem" in the eyes of the legislators."
Mosier said he's been tracking legislation impacting transgender athletes since 2013.
"In that time, we've seen policies be created that are good for high school student transgender athletes... and we've seen policies like Idaho's that allow transgender student-athletes to participate with their peers, but they have to jump through some hoops and restrictions in order to get there. We are not limiting the opportunities of those who are biological male because they will have that opportunity to compete on the men's side," Ehardt said.
"I don't think this is what Idaho wants to be known for, to be the first state in the country to write discrimination into law in such an extreme way. HB 500 is an extreme bill," he said. "To write discrimination into law for the rest of the country to see, it's not a good look for Idaho."
House Bill 500 passed out of the House with a 52-17 vote.
It still needs to be heard, and passed, in the Senate before it could become law.
Join 'The 208' conversation:
- Text us at (208) 321-5614
- E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Join our The 208 Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/the208KTVB/
- Follow us on Twitter: @the208KTVB or tweet #the208 and #SoIdaho
- Follow us on Instagram: @the208KTVB
- Bookmark our landing page: /the-208
- And we also turn each episode into a podcast on Spotify or Podbeam
- Still reading this list? We're on YouTube, too: