It took several years – but by their final season as a collegiate varsity squash athlete, Lex Horwitz felt happier than they ever could have imagined because they were finally their authentic self. Over the previous few years, the Bowdoin College student went through a journey to accept themself and be accepted and understood by their classmates and teammates.
Lex knew from a very young age that they did not feel entirely masculine nor feminine, although most people perceived them as a girl. In college, they came to the realization that they were non-binary, and now they identify as a non-binary transmasculine person and use they/them pronouns.
Their journey is very much tied to their athletic career at school. At one point in senior year, after playing for years on the women’s squash team, they realized they needed to make a change. They researched NCAA rules on athletes assigned female at birth playing on a men’s sports team, and they found that they were eligible, which they wanted to explain to their athletic director. “Before going into my meeting with the athletic director I knew there were only two potential endings to this story,” Lex said. ”1. I play on the Men’s team, or 2. Transphobia wins and I have to stop playing the sport that I love. There was no ‘option 3’ because I respected my mental health and happiness enough to know that playing on the Women’s team was no longer an option. Lucky for me, the athletic director gave me option 1.”
Their final season was a happy one. “My new teammates came up to me, patted me on the back and welcomed me with open arms,” Lex explained. ”They made no fuss, they were not upset, they didn’t ask inappropriate questions. Yes, the team would be different given that I was the first out transgender athlete at Bowdoin (and in all of collegiate squash). Yes, we would have to navigate personal comfort in the locker room. But these were not reasons for me to be barred from competition — these were reasons for us to grow as individuals and teammates.”