Trans Athlete Joins High School Football Team

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com September 06 2012 4:53 PM ET

A transgender man, a senior at Grosse Pointe South High School in Michigan, has joined his school's varsity football team, according to the school newspaper's website.

Seth Knop says he wanted to join the football team last year but was too afraid to try out. But this year he approached both varsity and junior varsity football coaches and was told that the school's athletic policy permitted coed sports teams. Knop is a running back for Grosse Pointe's varsity football team.

"The kids in my grade respect me a lot for it," said Knop of his being an out transgender athlete. "They treat me just like everybody else, which is what I wanted."

Knop said reaction has been largely supportive, even in his conservative town of 5,000. Knop's family supports his gender identity and his desire to play football, he said.

"I've been through a lot," said Knop. "A lot of people have come up to me and told me that I have courage for the things that I do. Over the years, I've just felt more and more like a role model."

Knop missed a week of play due to a concussion and might have limited time on the field this season because of veteran athletes getting preferential selection, but he says he's excited to be a part of the team.

"The times I have gotten to play, it's been pretty challenging, but the harder the challenge, the better I like it," Knop said.