Today’s interview is with Amelia Gapin, a transgender runner who was a Women’s Running magazine cover model in 2016. She is relentlessly herself and helps us learn more about what her day-to-day life is like. She is a true role model for others, helping us to see an issue that often does not get attention. Amelia and I tackle some of the controversy around transgender runners.
Amelia Gapin is a marathon runner, software engineer, and was a 2016 Women’s Running cover model. She is a self professed Bagel Snob and a “Cat Lady” who loves Disneyworld. Amelia is a transgender athlete, and was a co-founder of MyTransHealth, which serves as a guided search tool for transgender people struggling to find the right healthcare options for their needs.
What you will learn about:
- How she co-founded MyTransHealth to help those who need assistance navigating healthcare options.
- The meaning of “cisgender” (you identify with the gender you were at birth) and “transgender” (you identify with the opposite gender of that assigned at birth)
- How it was quite surreal to see herself on the cover of Women’s Health, and how she overcame her reluctance to say “yes” to being on it, knowing the risk of negative comments or violence that might occur from being so open. She also wondered whether the transgender community really needed another cover model or the publicity. In the end she learned how helpful it was for others to see that it was possible for them to also be runners and that they didn’t need to be alone.
- How being a transgender person is not all unicorns and rainbows. They face many issues: where they would be housed in a prison, which bathroom to use, service in the military, etc. Even the sound of your voice can cause issues day to day.
- How, like most of us, she initially hated running but soon came to love being able to get out and have time to think and be alone with her thoughts.
- How taking hormones impacted her running. Transgender runners in general have lower testosterone levels than cisgender women, as the hormone blockers reduce their overall levels to a point lower than normally occurs in females.The blockers also can cause dehydration, making it difficult to run longer distances. Once a transgender runner has transition surgery, they no longer take blockers and move closer to what is normal for women in general.
- How she had to get used to being cat-called while running. When the world sees you as a man, you don’t realize what it is like to run as a woman.
- The media attention surrounding the Boston Marathon and transgender runners. How the rules for racing are moving in the right direction but still have a way to go. Many of them involve how and whether you can update your personal identification, which varies by state.
- How she loves Disneyworld and her favorite ride is the Jungle Cruise because she loves bad puns and jokes.
- How Google is your friend and can help you find resources to help you understand transgender individuals and the issues they face. If you have questions, certainly ask, but gently and with respect.
Listen to the Running for Real Podcast here:[podcast src=”https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/6672611/height-orig/90/theme/custom/thumbnail/yes/direction/forward/height/90″ height=”90″ width=”100%” placement=”bottom” theme=”custom”]
My first 5k I wanted to die, how do people do this?
I’ve found the running community to be one of the most supportive around.
Thank you to BodyHealth for sponsoring this episode of Running for Real.
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Thank you to Amelia. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.