Why it matters Nike is putting trans athlete Chris Mosier front and center in this ad.

It's been a banner year for the first trans member of Team USA.

In 2015, Chris Mosier became the first transgender man to earn a spot on the men's U.S. national team in the sprint duathlon.

While you won't see him competing in the Rio Olympics (duathlon — which consists of running and cycling — isn't an Olympic sport), you still might catch a glimpse of the trailblazer during the games if you know where and when to look.

Chris Mosier. All GIFs from Nike/YouTube.


On Aug. 8, Nike aired a groundbreaking new ad during prime-time Olympic coverage. The ad gives a glimpse into Mosier's life, the questions he faces, and what motivates him to keep pushing forward. It's part of Nike's "Unlimited" campaign, which also features the likes of soccer star Alex Morgan, tennis champion Serena Williams, gymnastics phenom Simone Biles, and others.

In the video, Mosier confronts some of the unique uncertainties he faces as a trans athlete. Despite the unknown, he pushes forward.

It's a powerful series of questions with a simple reply for each: I didn't.

"I want people, particularly young people, to know it is possible to be their authentic self and continue to play sports."
— Chris Mosier

While those first few questions are specific to Mosier's story, the video ends with a powerful message about not letting the unknown get in the way of your dreams. It's something that goes far beyond the specific challenges faced by this one trans athlete, and instead becomes something many (if not all) of us can relate to: the power of perseverance.  

Mosier hopes the video will provide some much-needed visibility when it comes to trans athletes.

"The reaction [to the video] has been overwhelmingly positive," he said in an email. "I believe visibility is a powerful tool to create social change, and I am honored that Nike has provided this level of visibility for trans athletes. I want people, particularly young people, to know it is possible to be their authentic self and continue to play sports."

"I hope that other athletes can look to me and see a reflection of themselves, whether that's through identity, determination, or their own courage in facing and overcoming challenges."

He's got a point: Many would-be trans athletes are given the option of either transitioning or competing in sports — but not both. He wants to change that.

There's (medically inaccurate) talk of trans athletes having advantages over cisgender (non-trans) athletes. And while medical professionals have debunked this assertion time and again, it's one of those anti-trans talking points that simply will not die.

Being an out trans athlete, Mosier competes with a target on his back. A quick glance at the comments on the Nike video and you'll see that while some find the ad to be empowering, others responded by posting slurs, calling him names, and sending one simple message: You're not welcome here. For years, those messages dominated discussion of trans athletes.

Mosier wants to change the conversation.

"If someone was to ask me how I would identify myself, I would say that I was an athlete," Mosier says in a behind-the-scenes video from the shoot.

You can watch Mosier's inspirational Nike spot below.

Most Shared
Truth

Don't test on animals. That's something we can all agree on, right? No one likes to think of defenseless cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds being exposed to a bunch of things that could make them sick (and the animals aren't happy about it, either). It's no wonder so many people and organizations have fought to stop it. But did you ever think that maybe brands are testing products on us too, they're just not telling us they're doing it?

I know, I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that's exactly what e-cigarette brands like JUUL (which corners the e-cigarette market) are doing in this country right now, and young people are on the frontlines of the fallout. Most people assume that the government would have looked at devices that allow people to inhale unknown chemicals into their lungs BEFORE they hit the market. You would think that someone in the government would have determined that they are safe. But nope, that hasn't happened. And vape companies are fighting to delay the government's ability to evaluate these products.

So no one really knows the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use, not even JUUL's CEO, nor are they informing the public about the potential risks. On top of that, according to the FDA, there's been a 78% increase in e-cigarette usage among high school and middle school-aged children in just the last two years, prompting the U.S. Surgeon General to officially recognize the trend as an epidemic and urge action against it.

These facts have elicited others to take action, as well.

Truth Initiative, the nonprofit best known for dropping the real facts about smoking and vaping since 2000 through its truth campaign. We don't do PSAs. We also need to update so to explain truth – the nonprofit behind the truth youth smoking prevention campaign – you could also say this in a funny way – best known for sharing the facts about smoking and vaping or pull from some old campaigns. Just layer in a description of truth and who the campaign is., is now on a mission to confront e-cigarette brands like JUUL about the lack of care they've taken to inform consumers of the potential adverse side effects of their products. And they're doing it with the help of animal protesters who are tired of seeing humans treated like test subjects.

The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

The dangerous stuff is already out there, but with knowledge on their side, young people will hopefully make the right choices and fight companies making the wrong ones. If you need more convincing, here are the serious facts.

Over the last decade, 127 e-cigarette-related seizures were reported, which prompted the FDA to launch an official investigation in April 2019. Since then, over 215 cases of a new, severe lung illness have sprung up all over the country, with six deaths to date. While scientists aren't yet sure of the root cause, the majority of victims were young adults who regularly vaped and used e-cigarettes. As such, the CDC has launched an official investigation into the potential link.

Sixteen-year-old Luka Kinard, a former frequent e-cigarette-user, is one of the many teens who experienced severe side effects. "Vaping was my biggest addiction," he told NowThis. "It lasted for about 15 months of my high school career." In 2018, Kinard was hospitalized after having a seizure. He also had severe nausea, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.

After the harrowing experience, he quit vaping, and began speaking out about his experience to help inform others and hopefully inspire them to quit and/or take action. "It shouldn't take having a seizure as a result of nicotine addiction like I had for teens to realize that these companies are taking advantage of what we don't know," Kinard said.

Teens are 16 times more likely to use e-cigarettes than adults, and four times more likely to take up traditional smoking as a result, according to truth, and yet the e-cigarette market remains virtually unregulated and untested. In fact, companies like JUUL continue to block and prevent FDA regulations, investing more than $1 million in lawyers and lobbying efforts in the last quarter alone.

Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

Consumers have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies. If everyone (and their pets) speaks up, the e-cigarette industry will have to make a change. Young people are already taking action across the country. They're hosting rallies nationwide and on October 9 as part of a National Day of Action, young people are urging their friends and classmates to "Ditch JUUL." Will you join them?

For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

truth
True
LUSH

Handmade cosmetics company Lush is putting its money where its mouth is and taking a bold step for climate change action.

On September 20 in the U.S. and September 27 in Canada, Lush will shut the doors of its 250 shops, e-commerce sites, manufacturing facilities, and headquarters for a day, in solidarity with the Global Climate Strike taking place around the world. Lush is encouraging its 5000+ employees "to join this critical movement and take a stand until global leaders are forced to face the climate crisis and enact change."

Keep Reading Show less
Planet
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

The fine folks at Forbes are currently falling all over themselves trying to clean up the mess they created by publishing their 2019 list of 100 Most Innovative Leaders.

The problem: The list included 99 men and one woman. For those not so good with the math, that means according to Forbes, only 1% of the country's most innovative leaders are female.

Have you ever watched a movie that's so abysmally bad that you wonder how it ever even got made? Where you think, "Hundreds and hundreds of people had to have been directly involved in the production of this film. Did any of them ever think to say, 'Hey, maybe we should just scrap this idea altogether?"

That's how it feels to see a list like this. So how did Forbes come up with these results?

Keep Reading Show less
Innovation