Being Out: Trans runner Isaac Grivett gears up for NYC Marathon

Being Out is a new feature that looks at LGBTQ people in sports who have come out since Outsports first published in 1999. Today: Runner Isaac Grivett.

Isaac Grivett never stops, whether it’s working in wardrobe for two Broadway shows or running marathons.

Grivett, who is trans and identifies as non binary and queer, is gearing up for Sunday’s New York City Marathon, running being a passion they first discovered a decade ago while living in Southern California.

In addition to fighting for the rights of trans athletes, Grivett is also an advocate for the deaf community and has found a home with Front Runners New York.

“Trans people’s ability to participate in sports is attacked every day now,” they said. “I run for the trans and non-binary people of my city and the sporting community to encourage others that they can participate and be themselves.

“I have never felt comfortable in my body as a trans person and running has helped me get more in shape and made it easier to wear clothes that fit me and not show off parts of my body that make me look more feminine.”

Grivett first wrote about their experiences as a gay trans athlete in 2017 after moving to New York and the passion they had as an advocate two years ago has only grown.

Here are Grivett’s answers to out Being Out questions,

What do you love the most about running?

I love the freedom and flexibility that running gives me. I grew up always playing team sports and while I’m big on the team aspect, my work schedule is way too ridiculous to properly commit to training and playing with a team.

Running not only allows me to train when I want, with whom I want, but also allows me to compete in a mostly gender-free environment. I loved playing lacrosse in high school, and I was really good, but once I came out and started transitioning, I had to decide if I was comfortable enough and cared enough to delay my medical transition and continue being associated with the women’s team.

With running, when I race I still have to designate a gender for myself but once I’m out there, I can present myself how I want and people of all genders are out there competing together.

What does it mean to you to be LGBTQ+ in sports?

I feel like being a trans man in sports is like being a counter to the argument that trans people only exist to “cheat” in sports and argue that trans women have an inherent advantage — but then why would a trans guy transition?

Clearly we are people first and athletes second and must take care of our baseline physical and mental health before working on training for our sport. Sports have also given me a sort of vessel for LGBTQ, specifically trans, activism.

A few months ago I started a project where I found all the running clubs I could in New York and looked at their membership questionnaires and registrations for races they put on. None of them that required you to select a gender had an other or non binary option so I started contacting them and asking them to change their forms. While this specifically has to do with running, it hopefully put the idea of trans and non binary people on the minds of those people who run those clubs as well as anyone who might be signing up to join them.

What advice would you give to LGBTQ+ kids in athletics or who want to participate in athletics, the kind of advice the younger you wish you had heard?

I wish I had not taken so long to come out.

When I was in high school I played lacrosse and by the middle of my sophomore year, it was clear to a lot of people I was incredibly stressed and never wanted to talk about it. I remember sometimes going to practice early and running five miles around the track — something even someone who likes to run wouldn’t do because our practices involved a lot of running and intense drills — because it was really difficult to deal with the anxiety of holding it in and the conflict of wanting to play but not being comfortable on the women’s team and not being able to do anything about it or talk about it at all

Who is someone that inspires you?

One of my biggest inspirations is Chris Mosier. It’s almost by default by being the first elite trans athlete I’d ever heard of, but he is such an incredible advocate for trans people and he also is a huge supporter of young trans athletes and uses his platform to raise consciousness of many social issues and to reach out to people who want advice.

I have been so lucky to have gotten to know him over the past few years and he helped me find my current running club, Front Runners, and has always been there for me if I need to talk, whether it has to do with being trans, being an athlete or just anything else in my life. As someone who is also disabled, he has seen my posts and talked to me about issues I experience as a disabled person/athlete and uses that to enhance his activism.

What are you passionate about right now?

I’m training not only for my first ultra-marathon but also working up to my 10th marathon, which I’m running for the program I was a part of for my first marathon 10 years ago, Students Run LA. I’m excited to be back with them as they helped me train for my first marathon when I was just 12 and they support thousands of middle and high school kids per year to run the L.A. marathon.

I’m also very excited about work. I just started my first Broadway show a few months ago and I’m regularly working on two now. It’s very exciting to see my career start to take off, especially as I took a big risk in dropping out of school to peruse it.

What is your most memorable sports moment?

I probably tell the story of my second marathon (I was 13) most often. It was L.A. so of course we didn’t expect bad weather, but it was raining and began hailing the whole time.

It was really tough and I was sick for weeks after but I wouldn’t let my mom (who was running with me) stop us. I don’t know how long it took us to finish since the rain messed up the timing mats and it was truly miserable, but it has since made a great story and something to bond with others who were there.

Isaac Grivett is a native of Southern California and now resides in New York City. They work in the wardrobe department for Broadway shows, currently “Beetlejuice” and “Moulin Rouge,” and do other freelance clothing and costume work. They spend most of their free time running and are working up to running their 10th marathon in March. Isaac can be reached on Twitter at @isaacgrivett or Instagram at @isaacqgriv.

If you are out in sports in any capacity as openly LGBTQ and want to be featured in Being Out, drop Jim an email ([email protected]).


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