1 min

Why one trans athlete is fighting for inclusivity in sports

Competitive cyclist Kristen Worley joins Xtra in conversation on April 15

Credit: Penguin Random House Canada/Derek O’Donnell; Eric Wright/Xtra

From time to time a switch would flick in Kristen Worley’s head, and she would indulge in activities typically considered female, like playing with dolls and trying on her sister’s dresses. Just being in typically female spaces, like her sister’s bedroom, was of great comfort to her.

This is just one of the scenarios recounted by the Canadian professional cyclist and trans activist in her new autobiography, co-authored with Johanna Schneller, Woman Enough.

Worley says she knew she was different early on in life but didn’t have the language to articulate it —  the word “trans” didn’t exist in her vocabulary. She says the desire to “flick the switch” and try on different gender roles intensified when she was growing up, but she remained closeted.

For years, Worley lived as a man, got married and found a job at her father’s firm. She became a well-known competitive cyclist. But, after a panic attack, she realized she could no longer hide her true self and started to accept that she was trans.

Eventually, she came out to family and friends and transitioned in the span of five years.

In Woman Enough, Worley explores how the cycling world — the world that united her past and present  — and competitive sporting organizations like the IOC were not set up to accommodate trans athletes.

You can join Xtra in conversation with Worley to hear more about how she challenged the sporting world to become more inclusive of trans folks on April 15 at Ben McNally Books. The conversation will be hosted by Xtra’s director of editorial, Rachel Giese. Find out more about the event and RSVP here.

In honour of the release of this book, we’re giving away a bunch of other amazing titles by queer and trans authors from Penguin Random House Canada. Enter the sweepstakes below.

Ultimate Queer Women’s Lit Giveaway