Runner Megan Youngren, who is a transgender woman, has qualified for the U.S. Olympic marathon trials, making her the first openly transgender athlete to do so, Sports Illustrated reports.
Youngren, 28, came out as transgender in 2012 and finalized her transition paperwork in 2019. She finished 40th at the California International Marathon 2019, earning a place at the trials along with 63 other women.
“To my knowledge, and that of other staff who have been with USATF for many years, we do not recall a trans competitor at our Marathon Trials,” said a spokesperson for the group, Susan Hazzard.
“I’m open to talking about it to people because that’s the only way you make progress on stuff like this,” Youngren told SI.
“I thought that if I worked incredibly hard and took some huge risks that I could run a 2:45,” Youngren says. “People will try to put it down by saying, ‘That’s too easy because you’re trans.’ But what about the 500 other women who will qualify? There’s probably someone with the exact same story. I trained hard. I got lucky. I dodged injuries. I raced a lot, and it worked out for me. That’s the story for a lot of other people, too.”
Chris Mosier, a transgender man, became the first transgender athlete to qualify for and compete in an Olympic trials for their gender identity after challenging the International Olympic Committee’s policy on transgender athletes participating. The current policy requires that a transgender female athlete “must demonstrate that her testosterone level in serum has been below 10” nanomoles per liter “for at least 12 months prior to her first competition.”
Youngren told SI that she’s worked with the same doctor for about seven years, and has testosterone levels well below that standard.
“I have done everything by the book, and I can show that,” she said.