A transgender woman in N.H. pursues an Olympic dream – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts 2021-06-01 09:50:47 –


The first Cece Telfer to win the NCAA title by revealing herself as transgender is aiming to compete in the US Olympic trial on the 400-meter hurdle. So far, her biggest obstacle is There is no training facility.

Sese Telfer. – Elizabeth Franz / The New York Times

Swanzey, New Hampshire — When driving on the steep winding roads of this small town, it’s no surprise that the elite hurdles jump into the bushes to keep them out of the car.

That hurdle, Cece Telfer, wants to compete in the US Olympic trial starting June 18 in Eugene, Oregon. The asphalt road is her main training facility.

In 2019, Telfer was the first woman to publicize her transgender title to win the NCAA title. She was a fifth-year student at Franklin Pierce University, a Division II school in Rindge, New Hampshire. Currently, she is one of the few transgender women trying to compete in the Tokyo Olympics, which begins in late July.

According to Olympic historians, no athlete has publicly acknowledged being transgender at the time of the competition in winter or summer competitions. At least two announced after a while that they were transgender, including Caitlyn Jenner, who won the gold medal in her teens in 1976.

Some athletes who publicly admit to being transgender may possibly compete in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer, but many athletes are still trying to qualify. State legislation banning transgender athletes (mainly young girls) from competing in gender-identical teams has surged across the United States, despite the opportunity for athletes to be held at the university and Olympic levels. ing.

Recent clashes over transgender athletes have made it more important for telfers to take advantage of elite competition opportunities.

“It’s important for me to do that for these kids,” said 26-year-old Telfer, sitting on the balcony of a college psychologist’s house. “Women, blacks, and transgenders. It’s important to me to do it for people who are being scrutinized and oppressed, such as people, LGBTQ people. “

Telfer is almost alone training on the road and in high school trucks outside Boston. – Elizabeth Franz / The New York Times

Her journey to the Olympic trial was difficult. She struggled to find a coach to support her during the coronavirus pandemic and flew to Mexico for a short training session. Telfer eventually returned to New Hampshire, where psychologist Franklin Pierce I slept in the car until I invited him to stay at his home in Swanzey, a town not far from Pierce.

Three days a week, training sessions mainly include Telfer and cars and take place on Swanzey asphalt. For the remaining three days, Telfer will drive to a high school truck on the outskirts of Boston for about two hours. There, she can take advantage of the hurdles to work with other athletes.

She suppresses testosterone levels and maintains them for at least a year before meeting the qualification requirements of the International Olympic Committee. However, in order to reach the Tokyo Olympics, which wants to race on the 400-meter hurdle, Telfer must first qualify for a national trial. To do this, you need to run the race in 56.5 seconds on the feeder meat. It’s going to be tough — her best qualifying time so far is 57.5 seconds.

If Telfer reaches the trial, she must finish in the top three in her event to get a chance to go to Tokyo.

After graduating from college in the spring of 2019, Telfer tried to convince several coaches to help him reach his Olympic goals. The two initially agreed to work with her.

One stopped replying when she realized she was transgender, Telfer said. The other was Mexico. In February, after about two years of self-taught training, Telfer abandoned his apartment and work at an old-age home in New Hampshire and boarded a plane. She stayed with her friend’s family and was coached for the first time since college.

However, her stay was short. Telfer, who grew up primarily in Jamaica and Canada, had to return to the United States to confirm the application for American citizenship granted on May 14.

When she returned to New Hampshire, she spent several days couchsurfing. When she couldn’t do that, she slept in the car for two weeks. She wore two sweaters and leggings with sweatpants on top, and was dressed in a college blanket to keep her warm. She parked in various truck stops and park-and-ride parking lots. She regularly skipped breakfast and lunch and ate mainly cooked rotisserie chicken, which can be bought cheaply at supermarkets.

Nicole Newell, Franklin Pierce’s Counseling Director, learned about Telfer’s situation and provided a place to stay. From time to time she can see Telfer sprinting on the hills outside the window.

Telfer was a sprinter until a high school coach led her to a hurdle. – Elizabeth Franz / The New York Times

“No matter what happens to her, she just keeps moving,” Newell said. “And that’s incredible.”

Some people accepted her, but Telfer always felt like an outsider. She said she looked strange in public and was threatened with murder on social media, making her feel out of place as a black man in a white-dominated community.

“I was always my’seventh friend’,” she said. “No one invites me first. I will be the last or invite myself.”

Raised by a single mother, Telfer hid her gender identity for fear of persecution. She started running a truck at an elementary school in Jamaica. There were sports where the age group was not divided by gender. When her family moved to Lebanon, New Hampshire in the summer before her third year of high school, she continued to run in the men’s team.

She thought she was a sprinter, but the coach sent her to a hurdle.

She joined Franklin Pierce in the fall of 2014 and began competing in the men’s team in 2016, but publicly identified herself as a woman. In the spring of 2017, Telfer left the track for a while after feeling uncomfortable with his views from others and immediately began suppressing testosterone.

“They didn’t realize they were women participating in my favorite sport,” Telfer said of playing against men. “They were starting to see me as a gay male athlete running with a cisgender man,” she said, referring to those who assimilate the gender assigned at birth.

At the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, Telfer stepped into the coach’s office with a friend and asked to compete with other women. She expected the coach to balk. Instead, she remembered. I did.

“Then I started crying and my friends started crying,” Telfer said. “We didn’t seem to know what was going on, but he said,’You can compete as CeCe, as yourself, as a girl.'”

According to her, her excitement was eased by the repulsion. Telfer’s competitors’ parents objected that she had athletic benefits.

In college and Olympic sports, transgender women can compete in the women’s category if they meet a variety of testosterone suppression requirements. There are few studies on how such hormone therapy affects elite athletes.

Some studies have shown that one year after hormone therapy initiated after puberty, transgender women retain some of the benefits of testosterone-promoted muscle mass and strength. Other studies have shown that muscle strength benefits are diminished after 2 years, but cardiovascular benefits are not.

Although allegedly competitive, there is little evidence that transgender athletes dominated women’s sports, so more than 30 state lawmakers said transgender women and girls were gender-identical. He submitted a bill aimed at banning competition in gender-matched teams.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, six states, Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Montana, and West Virginia, have enacted such legislation in their most recent parliament. Governor Christinoem of South Dakota has signed two executive orders that also restrict participation. Idaho enacted a law last summer, but has been stalled by federal judges since then.

“Looking at how the world hates people like me, the dream not only came true, but it also meant more,” said Telfer.

When Telfer came out to her mother on the phone in 2018, she was told she would probably never see her close relatives again.

Larry Reach, who played basketball at Franklin Pierce University in the early 1980s and returned as Vice President of the Alumni Association when Telfer was a student, became her mentor who lived her life as a student athlete and wrestled with her identity. became. He was standing in the room with Telfer when she came out to her mother.

In a telephone interview, Reach said, “I was sad to hear that my mother wouldn’t accept my child under any circumstances, because she knows how much she wants her support. “She receives it from others, but the desire to get it from her mother is more than I support her or anyone else supports her.” Also makes much more sense.

When she’s on the track, Telfer sets aside a wider range of issues and focuses more on watches and Olympic dreams. She wants to qualify for a trial at the tournament in early June.

“We really have to believe that this will help us face the challenges,” Telfer said of her training. “If you open your eyes, you can only see the Olympic trial.”

A transgender woman in N.H. pursues an Olympic dream Source link A transgender woman in N.H. pursues an Olympic dream

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