In a conversation today at my college office, A coworker and I talked about the trials of teaching our youth. I did my practicum at the middle school level and taught 10 years at the high school level. It was much easier to deal with the high school student rather than the 5th to 8th graders. So when I saw this recent story from Outsports.com, "Watch This Transgender Youth-Soccer Coach Come Out To His Players"
The following video starts with Kaig Lightner giving a pep talk about team work and being on time for practice, but at about 1:30 into the video, it takes a turn, an inspirational turn.
Was that the question you expected from students? "How old are you?" No, it wasn't what I thought I would hear first.
In watching the video, it was hard not to notice Diego laugh and then turn away from the conversation. We all deal with change in our own way, may it be odd to us or close to home.
Kaig Lightner has been pretty open for some time about his "being different." He's made working past differences part of his life and profession
In this picture from 2013, Kaig Lightner stands with other positive thinking individuals. Nike Paralympian Gold Medalist and rugby wheelchair athlete Will Groulx with grant recipient representatives Andre Ashley, Sports Management Supervisor, Portland Parks & Recreation and Kaig Lightner, Director of Coaching, Portland Community Football Club. Grant: To launch the Portland Community Football Club, a community-based soccer club emphasizing the principles of equal access to sport and diversity, and providing affordable, high-quality soccer for Portland youth.
We also found this video from a post in 2013 on Respectful Revolution.where Kaig talks about is Portland, Oregon program more in depth.
Enthusiastic founder of the Portland Community Football Club, Kaig [cage] Lightner is not just any soccer coach. Combining good technique with keen psychology. Kaig uses world football as an avenue to self-assertiveness for kids who find themselves in challenging situations (modest, minority or immigrant background, social /relational difficulties, or sexual orientations that often trigger prejudice in team sports). Kaig's concern comes from his own personal experience: born with a female body, yet always knowing deep down that he was a male. Setbacks and misery began at puberty, and were compounded as he proceeded into the sport he was most passionate about. Today however, Kaig has successfully transitioned as both a man and a passionate coach. He bravely followed his own heart, having finally become exactly what he was meant to be; and, with the help of a major sports apparel manufacturer, his unique FOOTBALL club is thriving as well. – Respectful Revolution
So Kaig has been out, but like many of us, it may be necessary for us to keep coming out when we meet new people, meet new classes of students, change jobs.
Thanks for your strength Kaig and thanks for making a difference in Portland, Oregon and with the help of the Internet, a difference in the world.