Living Your Truth
with CeCé Telfer
28 Jun, 2022 · Track and Field
Jamaican-American hurdler, CeCé Telfer, shares her journey to becoming the first openly trans-gender woman to win an NCAA title.
“Living Your Truth as a Trans Woman Athlete”
Guest: CeCé Telfer
[00:00:00]Stef: today's guest is CeCé Telfer a Jamaican American 400 meter hurdler who in 2019 became the first openly trans woman to win an NCAA title in her sports career. CeCé is continuing to push the boundaries and inspire the culture of athletics to be more inclusive. In this episode, we touch on what the sport of track and field has meant to CeCé and how it has shaped her everyday experience in sport and society.
CeCé also shares her contributions to the women's performance collective and describes how her partnership with whoop is helping her become a stronger. CeCé touches on the importance of vulnerability between teammates, between coaches and athletes and how critical it is to have a strong support system. I love this conversation because CeCé touches on how simple things like starting conversations and addressing each other as their true selves can do a lot in changing people's perspective and creating a more inclusive sport culture.
Welcome to the voice and sport podcast CeCé. We're so excited to have you here with us today.
[00:01:06]CeCé: Yay. I'm excited to be here. Thank you so much for having.
[00:01:09]Stef: Well, you clearly are a phenomenal athlete who has, I mean, time and time again, proven just how talented you are. And as a child, you lived in Jamaica and Canada before moving to New Hampshire and high school and ultimately going to college there. So when did you start running track and were you always a hurdler?
[00:01:27]CeCé: So I started running track. way were back in elementary school cause they, in Jamaica, they incorporate track as early as they can pretty much. So that has always been a part of the Jamaican culture. So I kind of integrated there when I visited and lived in Jamaica. as far as hurdling. I started hurling actually my junior year of high school.
So going into college, my coach looked at me actually first coming from Canada, being one of the few black kids in school, a part of that high school in Lebanon, New Hampshire joining the track team, definitely like, you know, one of the stereotypes of part from joining the basketball team, but also like he looks at me and he was like, you're a hurdler. Sounds like I've never done it before. I'm open to try new things. Cause track is a part of my world. So
[00:02:18]Stef: Amazing. What does that mean? You look at somebody and you're like, you're a hurdler. Like, what did he see in you that he was like, yep. That's it.
[00:02:25]CeCé: Honestly, I think it was just how dedicated I was. You know, hurdling and the 400 hurdles are very physically driven and dedicated event. Like you have to be 100% committed to that event in order to even do it. You can't have one inch of doubt, one inch of doubt, and you're done, the race will eat you alive. So I feel like he saw that in me and he just immediately, it was like we're going to work on you.
[00:02:49]Stef: I love that.
[00:02:50]CeCé: Also maybe the ratio of athlete to coach too. Cause you know, you gotta trust your coach, at least 99% of the time in order for you to be a successful athlete. So that was definitely an added aspect.
[00:03:02]Stef: Well, you've also participated in gymnastics, cheerleading, volleyball. Did you feel like any of those sports at an early age actually contributed to your success on the track later?
[00:03:14]CeCé: Absolutely. So cross-training, I felt as though it enhanced my track abilities because I always had track in my life. So I was always running. Those other sports and activities helped me to focus my skills, but also broadened my skills in a way. So when I went back to track, I was more focused. I was more in tuned and the execution was there cause I took it more seriously. It was like my, my livelihood. It was like me. So.
[00:03:45]Stef: And why did you stick with track and field all these years? Like, you know, what is it that you find the joy from it?
[00:03:52]CeCé: To be honest, as silly as it is, I like what it does for my body. How the sport really shapes my figure and give me the image of what I want to see myself. Physically, it does that for me. And that really keeps me in the game with the added fact that like, it helps my mental health, like that running that training aspect of it keeps my mind a bay from all the distractions around me. So it just keeps me focused, keeps me in tune and it helps me use that skill in other aspects like studying, you know what I mean? Or like being out in the real world.
[00:04:24]CeCé: track has definitely taught me that.
[00:04:27]Stef: Well and we're going to talk a lot about those lessons, because I really believe that sport is a vehicle for, for many things, right.
So, what kind of made you stick with sport, you know, over these years, cause we're going to talk about how you went to Franklin Pierce university, you ended up competing in both the 100 meter and the 400 meter hurdles. You basically dominated at both the NCAA division, two outdoor championships and the new England outdoor championships. With times of, I think like 57, 53 and 59, 21. So I kind of want to talk about that experience to getting to college and how did you keep going without burning out? Because I think a lot of our young athletes here listening to this podcast, might be in a space where they're not finding their balance.
[00:05:13]CeCé: Definitely finding your balance is, is really hard, but it's a learning skill. It's an acquired skill. Like I have definitely been an athlete my whole life. So I always had that side of my life to keep me busy, to keep me away from the strenuous lifestyle of my academics and what my parents want me to be.
I always had that like athletic lifestyle to keep me calm and keep me sane. And then it was kind of like a recharge for me and go back to what I needed to do in the classroom or at home or at the workplace. So the motivation to always want it to be better.
I always wanted to be my best, fulfill my full potential and go all the way to the top. The motivation is always wanting to be on top and going to the top and really acquiring the skill of mastering my sport and also the motivation, to be the control over scolding and moldings of body that I see myself in.
You know what I mean? You know, taking ownership of that. Doing it because I can do it for myself and it's not, it's not an impossible thing. So, I like the idea of we can achieve the bodies that we want. We just have to work hard enough for it. And me working hard at my sport has given me the body that I want and all the same time getting all the way to the top.
So my little quote for competitions, I live by this and now all the other girls are learning from me from my my Alma mater it's look good, feel good, run fast and win championships. That's what I live by. Like, if you look good, you feel good about yourself, your image, what you exude, what you're giving out.
I mean, you'll perform well. You know what I mean? You'll execute. The execution will be there. Hopefully in that you'll score a top best or something that you're comfortable with.
[00:07:01]Stef: Yeah. I think, look good, feel good, play good is definitely a phrase that even I growing up playing sports would say to myself. And I think one of the things that is tough about that comment is the look good part, right? Like I think there's a lot of complete body comparisons that happen in sport. And especially when you're transitioning from like high school to college and your body starts shifting. I I worry right. A little bit about sometimes that look good parts. So how do you make sure that like, it's looked good for your field? Good part, right? It's not. look good to try to like compare yourself or get in a position where you go down a bad path.
[00:07:41]CeCé: When I say look good, I'm thinking of the mental state, right? Looking good as the mental aspects of it. If you go out there looking at the way that you're comfortable, seeing how you look then nothing else around you will, will distract you. Nothing else can fade you. Right? Whether that be you putting up your hair in a bun that day, or you letting your hair down, or you dropping, you hair off like you, whatever you look in that mirror for competition day.
And you're like, It's go time. I feel comfortable. Like I'm good with what I physically see in the mirror? nothing else can phase you at that point. You're thinking execution, execution, execution. Don't get me wrong. With the nerves and everything with being an elite athlete, there is a uncomfortable nature in competition and performing and you're just going to have to be okay. And you would get used to that.
[00:08:26]Stef: What would you say to girls out there that might be struggling Right now in their first couple of years in college with that transition, going to college from high school to college and might be comparing themselves too much to other people around them. Like, how do you stay centered on yourself?
And that your body is beautiful the way it is. How do you not compare? What advice would you give to the girls? It might be in this comparison.
[00:08:48]CeCé: Right. So the advice that I would give to this comparison trap as hard as it is, is to focus on yourself. They used to say focus on the plate in front of you, because if you watch others eat their plate, your food is going to get cold. So while you're putting all the energy into. You know, watching them and, looking at their physique, their makeup, their body makeup is different from yours. Put the energy into your body and what you want to achieve and what you want to get out of it. And we'll come with the patients and the drive. Right. And that's what I've been focused on my whole, like my whole athletic career, since I was a little kid, you know? So if you put all that focus into yourself, your own body, your own image, the results will pay.
[00:09:31]Stef: Well, it's such a strong message for girls. And I think when it comes to like overloading, you know, feeling that sense of being overwhelmed or overloaded at school and track and all the personal things that coming off that also come with, going to college, it's extremely common for student athletes to feel overwhelmed.
So did you ever feel that way? And if so, like how did you deal with it? Did you access any of the resources at your campus? Like a sports psychologist or lean on the resources that you had.
[00:10:00]CeCé: Yeah, absolutely. So, like I said before, being a competitor like going to competitions and even in practice, there's a certain level of anxiety, a certain level of uncomfortableness that comes with it. But you have to see that as normal, you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, which is what I'm working on right now.
And once you achieved that goal, you'll show up with confidence. You know, you'll exude confidence and going into practice sometimes makes me nervous. Just the thought of not being able to execute that day or finish that workout because we have to remember that for track.
We're spending three hours in the gym for. 30 seconds on the track, right. To 10 seconds on the track. So we really gotta make it count every second and every day counts there's, there's a process to it. You can't just skip a day. So we always gotta think about that.
And it's a lot going on and being overwhelmed. You got to remember to center yourself and at the end of the day, just have fun with it because sports is supposed to be fun and we're supposed to learn from failing you know, it, it helps us grow.
That's how I felt relaxed, going into nationals. The last thing that I tell myself, I always get so emotional when I compete because I was so like lucky to be there and so grateful to be on that track. so I tell myself to just have fun with it.
[00:11:24]AD: Thank you for listening to the Voice In Sportpodcast. My name is Shianne Knight. I'm a junior, soccer player at Howard Universityand producer of this week's episode. If you're enjoying the episode. and would like to get the chance to talk to athletes like her, go to voiceinsport.com to sign up for a free membership and gain access to exclusive episodes, mentorship sessions, and other weekly content. Don't forget to follow us on Instagram, Twitter,and TikTok at Voice In Sport. Now let's get back to the episode.
[00:11:52]Stef: I love it. So have you ever worked with a sports psychologist and what have you learned from, from like working on like the mindset side of how you show up every day on the.
[00:12:03]CeCé: so I haven't worked directly with a sports psychologist. However, I worked with an athletic trainer with a sports psychology focus and she has taught me a lot and I shadowed her also for an internship. And I've learned that as athletes, especially as elite athletes, when it comes to your athletic identity, it defines who you are and it , it takes over you completely.
Right? When you introduce yourself, you're always going to introduce yourself as an athlete first and then everything else second, that just shows how you identify strongly with your athletic identity. Right. Also. For male athletes, more than female athletes, it's harder for them to take that mental break and take that time to themselves as opposed to us as females when we take that time, because we know when we need that time, it's seen as weakness for us.
So with working with a sports psychologist, it's kind of gives you the validation that no, you're going to improve, you're going to do better at the end of the day. So that's one thing that I'm working with the sports psychologist has taught me. To always take care of yourself, showing up is number one, and you know, no pain, no gain.
[00:13:12]Stef: Well, we know it's like one of the hardest things of being a student athlete is recovery, or, you know, This idea that it's okay to take a day off, and recover. And so we have this great partnership with WHOOP, which we're super excited about, and we know that you're a part of WHOOP and the performance collective.
So, you know, congratulations on being part of that really cool team. But you know, that must also bring to the forefront for you the importance of recovery. so how has the group helped you with recovery and sport performance? And what do you wish you knew back in high school and college, now that you're a little bit more open to a day off.
[00:13:50]CeCé: Oh, my gosh. Okay. First of all, I'm going to say, I love my partnership with WHOOP. I've never felt so connected with my athletic side and to who I am as an athlete. My God, please. Yes. Thank you. Second of all, it's just working with WHOOP and being a part of this initiative has just taught me so much, especially it's allowed me to see the thing that I can see to help me benefit and helped me better myself as an athlete, even as an individual. Right? So as athletes, we're always searching for the most efficient way of training. And I feel like WHOOP offer is that technology for us to improve efficiently in our training.
And I love that. Like one thing that I wish that I knew before in high school that I know now, like is the little things that matter, like this. Sleep is a huge way of recovery. And I, I never had sleep. I had fear of missing out on everything. So it was really hard for me
[00:14:46]CeCé: Major. So taking time to do that and recover your body like the next day, your performance is, is going to be immaculate.
And I've had those days where I did get enough sleep and go to practice the next day and wondering how I feel so energetic, how I feel so alive. And, how did I execute that? So well, you know, with no problems, no soreness, no like aching. So that was definitely like a huge benefit. I liked the fact that my whoop watch and my band group in general holds me accountable.
It tells you when your strain is, it makes you stronger. it gives you that opportunity to see the things that you can't see.
[00:15:21]Stef: Sleep's important. I think it's one of the most important things I've learned in this partnership with whoop as a mom, as an entrepreneur, and certainly as a former athlete. I never thought about it that way. And knowing now that it's one of the most important things to your performance, I'm like, oh, okay, good to know.
[00:15:41]CeCé: right. I wish though they can help us with the nutrition part. Like I know there's just so much that they can do, but the nutrition, like I know that eating right is one of the biggest things for me and sleeping, like. No matter how hard it is. Like you just try. And sometimes it might not always hit that peak, that peak sleep by getting close to it.
I get super excited because I'm like, look, I almost went to bed when I was supposed to, and I woke up on time, but it's definitely the little things.
[00:16:07]Stef: Well, it's great advice to any young athlete out there, listening to this podcast to start paying attention to those little things. now like Nutrition like sleep. like recovery hydration, right? Some of those things that maybe, maybe really aren't in the forefront of, of your everyday, but like having that as part of your conversation now with your coach or your sports psychologists or nutritionists is definitely key to success.
[00:16:32]CeCé: And taking care of your mental health?
[00:16:34]Stef: Yes. Let's talk about that for a little bit. I think as athletes, as you mentioned, often we lead with, I am an athlete and, and sometimes then when you're transitioning from. The levels within the sport community, or even out of sport into a career, a different career, you, you kind of start questioning, wait, who am I?
So for you, what has it been and what does it mean for you to represent other trans athletes and really, take a stand showing up and talking about everything... who you are and who your identity is and being confident in your own truth. Like it's not easy. So how did, how was that experience for you and how did it impact your mental.
[00:17:20]CeCé: That's a good question. Thank you for that question. It's definitely not been an easy road. However, thinking about what I'm doing and how it's benefiting the athletes behind me and the athletes coming up and athletes that are looking up that's somebody like me. We look the same with the same body makeup or the same skin tone. You know what I mean? She wears nails. I like wearing nails as an athlete. Like I hope that they can see that, they're not alone for one and two, that there is a path. There is a way, there is a space. There is a place for them on the track to train, to compete and to be themselves .
We'll be there for you. We got you. So I hope that that's what I bring to the table and, you know, it helps for me looking back, I didn't have that research part of me to see somebody in my position. And, but there were other athletes like me I wouldn't say like me in a sense that they were like my race.
And, there were in my sport cause there's no athletes really like me out there, but to see other girls, in transition like myself out there playing the sport that they love and being accepted by their teammates is very powerful in itself. So myself being different, being a black girl, , I offer myself to my community and to the sport to continue this journey and to go all the way to the top. So that other girls like myself that see me know that we see them and that they can do it too. You know, I'm offering them a road to Beyond that path and stay on that path. You know, I feel like sports sometimes like to give off this inclusive, environment, but when their inclusivity is challenged, it prevents the students and girls like myself who really have potential to stop doing what they love, because when they're challenged, they turn us away. You know what I mean? They there's no inclusivity for us. There is no environment that shows us that we belong and we matter, and that there's a place for us. So me doing this and getting all the way to the top and doing what I'm meant to do because my time and my journey is not finished long way to go will hopefully open up back door and, and show that, That inclusivity and,, that girls like me belong and we're here to stay.
[00:19:47]Stef: What piece of advice would you give a listener who might be experiencing similar feelings and how would you reassure them that they are not alone?
[00:19:56]CeCé: You're valid in your feelings and you're not alone because I'm doing it. You can do it too. At the end of the day, standing up for yourself and living your truth, is. is yours to own and you deserve to live your life and use there to compete in your sport. And you deserve to go all the way to the top, and you deserve coach, and you deserve to be trained because you matter and fighting for that is right. You shouldn't have to fight for that. Securing that focus is very powerful and it's okay to fight for that. It's okay to voice your opinion. Sometimes as female athletes in general, we try to voice our opinion and we're not heard because our coaches don't see us that way. Sometimes most of the majority of our coaches are male. So it's really hard for them to cope with female athletes, but just fight for it. Keep fighting and keep voicing your opinion because eventually someone will hear you.
[00:20:51]Stef: Love it. I mean, that describes why I created this company. right. That's why we called it Voice in Sport. That's why we are bringing on women like you. We need more voices and we need more voices to be heard. And I think what you talked about. Hits home pretty hard, because I think a lot of people talk about inclusion, but then when it comes down to it, it's like, are you really being inclusive?
And so check yourself take a step back and if you're a coach listening to this or a mom listening to this and you're leading a team, what advice would you give those coaches to ensure they are creating an inclusive environment for all?.
[00:21:28]CeCé: To the coaches that are trying to, make sure that they're doing the right thing and creating like an inclusive, safe environment for children in sports in general. And for moms who have kids who are athletes and. Who are looking to make sure that they are also getting involved at the right time and doing the right things for their athlete.
I would say to really look at your environment, look at yourself and how you approach things and to make sure that each athlete on your team has equal opportunities has equal, right in playing the sport and being on the team and what they're contributing, you know? I know that the higher level, , there's guidelines for everybody and it, it gets more rigorous. It gets more competitive and yeah, favoritism is a thing, but I feel like, we have to remember that like, as coaches to children, they're all just playing together to be part of something that they belong to and make sure you're creating that environment where you're including both those other kids who feel like they're not athletic enough.
Be vulnerable and be compassionate with your athletes enough. I know that you're their coach, they're your athlete and you're the relationships professional. However, for most athletes, it is an outlet. And when we were looking for that vulnerability is for, when we look to you for that little bit of validation, you know, you'll know what it is.
Just give it to us. Give it to us, or set us aside and talk to us. Cause we do see you for 90% of our time and 90% of our day, especially when it comes to high school, college and beyond like, we see you pretty much more than we see our friends and our family members. So be compassionate and be sensitive.
That's okay. And to teach that taking time for yourself is okay.
[00:23:20]Stef: You mentioned before that sports gave you a sense of belonging. So how would you describe your support system today? And for those that are out there wondering, Hey, how do I create a support system that is healthy and, that where I feel included and I have support, you know, how do you build that?
[00:23:38]CeCé: So a support system and, belonging. So first of all I wanted to talk about this earlier, before I forget it. Being an athlete like, there's some sort of respect that is bestowed upon you. Right. I don't like to use that word, but like you acquire some sort of respect, like having like that athletic nature in general, like the athletic identity, that's huge getting respect from people, especially society and like, you know, random people, you don't know the fact that you're an athlete, they give you that respect out of the blue because you're doing something that they can't do.
Or like they idolize are they seen as like glorified, you know what I mean? So. That in itself helps my belongingness is that I'm a part of a team that we all have something in common. We're all athletes. We are all in the same. We're all a part of the same team. Even though it's an individual sport track and field, We're still working collectively to help each other succeed and achieve our best in the sense that even our competitors are cheering us on reaching our competitors on because we want to see each other succeed.
When it comes to my support system, I acquire the support system as you go, because there are people that are, there are actually good people in the world that it will come out of the blue and say, Hey, like I see you and I support you. And right then, and there that's a supporter right there.
There are your teammates are supporting. Right. If your professors could also be supportive because they address you how you deserve to be addressed, they see you how you want to be seen. So, I liked the fact that some people go out of their way to say, like, I see you and I support you. Like definitely your teammates are going to be your biggest supporters because one, you are going to be spending 90% of your day with them. And two, it opens up a whole advantage for them to get involved and do the right thing.
Ask questions and be an educate themselves.
[00:25:23]Stef: Amazing. Well, what I really want to kind of dive into like the identity piece a little bit, because for any young athlete that's out there right now and might be struggling with their identity. I want them to know that they're not alone. But I also want them to learn from your experience, and understand where they can go for help and where they can go to get support.
So let's dive a little bit into your transition. In 2016, in 2017, you competed at Franklin Pierce men's track and field team, and soon you were then able to compete in the women's teams. In 2019, how was being able to compete in your division, in the women's division? How did that build your confidence and sort of help you really get comfortable in your own skin and then take that experience and what can we help these other young athletes with, if they are struggling right now with their identity and what to do.
[00:26:14]CeCé: So in like finding themselves and their identity, it definitely takes time and you have to trust the process and you deserve to explore and you deserve to belong. There is no limits, right? All you need is support from your family and your friends and the people that really matter. When it comes down to it, you gotta really focus on the people that really matter, because I feel like we give a lot to those individuals that we want to matter, but they don't give that back. So if you direct that energy into the people that love you, whether it be your family, trust me as an athlete, having family support is huge. Coming from an athletes whose biological family, like pretty much. Like disowned me because of my identity. So like having that family aspect is huge because once your family is there to support you and follow you so beyond especially supporting your craft on forgettable and unapologetically it's huge.
It adds a lot to your mental health. It makes you feel like you're doing the right thing and you matter as an athlete too. Right. And I know diverting, it's okay to divert, but just always come back and recollect. And remember what is most important is the people that are giving you the energy that you're giving them. You know what I mean? Even the people that are giving you a little bit more like that's, that's awesome. So. Focusing on that. Also like I was always an athlete that saw myself as not competing on the men's team or the females team, just like running in the sport and competing in sport that I love. I always saw competition as an advance. And the way of making me better, making me a stronger athlete, developmentally making me faster.
That's how I saw myself competing and in doing so it develops me as an athlete, even now, like I train girls training with the guys , it's a great way to help your skill, especially when it comes to track and feel like it helps boost your performance and speed. It helps to, it helps to give you a little bit of competition too.
Like mixing and creating a co-ed atmosphere like that helps improve every half-liter. All the athletes are on a performance for the men. It helps improve their mental and physical, like wellbeing. Like that's huge. Like they're getting a benefit too. You know what I mean?
[00:28:35]Stef: Absolutely. I mean, the guys get a lot of benefit for working out with us. I'm just going to say.
[00:28:40]CeCé: That's what I'm saying. Like, if we weren't there, like they would be bored. Like, let's be honest. We helped them. We got, we helped them with the mental aspect of it to stay focused and get the job done.
[00:28:54]Stef: Well, how do you, how do you feel that like athletes can support their teammates and friends through these experiences at young ages? Right? So if, if you know, when your teammates is transitioning or they are, you know, just trying to explore who they are as a person and find their truth, you know, how do you support teammates and friends at that moment?
[00:29:13]CeCé: I would say a good teammate and a good friend is someone who shows up and no matter what and definitely somebody who hears something to say something. It's it's, you can always say something in a kind way.
And education is a huge piece. Once, you know, a fact about something, you hear somebody misleading on a faculty, especially if it involves your friend, you're somebody who you consider as an ally. Like know, that you're educated on this topic so you're going to correct them. That's a huge way of supporting us. You know, using pronouns is a good way of creating that common ground and showing that allyship, if
that makes sense.
[00:29:58]Stef: That is key. And so last September that you were selected to be part of my global choice campaign for gender equality. And now I see why, right. I'm sure being part of that campaign, you know, I know. Made many young girls feel seen. So how has that. experience in terms of like helping to change the culture?
You know, cause I mean, I want to talk about representation of black, trans culture, but also black women athletes. And I know you're really passionate about these areas. So what did that being part of that campaign really mean to you?
[00:30:32]CeCé: So I love my partnership with Michelob ultra. I'm just like, I love my partnership with WHOOP. One thing they both have in common is that I feel seen by both. So if both of them see me, can you imagine the opportunities for the athletes coming up? They'll they're there showed me that there's two major two major organizations especially in, in the athletic world. Like I still feel like I'm dreaming because they saw me in the way that I've been wanting to be seen in my whole life, which, you know, being a part of the cis- girls, it's not a cis or trans debate or topic.
It's a woman overall group. And to be a part of that is huge. And for Michelob ultra to step up and show that, and radiate that is, is even bigger, like unapologetically, without compromise.
[00:31:21]Stef: What role, what role do you think businesses and brands can play in fighting for equity and equality and protecting the youth.
[00:31:30]CeCé: I think the role that businesses can play are huge. it's sad that a lot of them choose to be quiet but standing up saying something about it and normalizing the conversation. One can change the narrative and that's huge in itself. Offering more training opportunities and resources.
You don't have to do it in a public stage. It can start small, like help an athlete that really needs that. You know what I mean? A big part of it is training and having coaches and facilities to train in is a huge part, especially after college. There's just not enough opportunities for athletes like myself, especially when it comes to female athletes, like we're not being recruited, like male athletes are being recruited . Right. And the money advantage is not the same. I'm just gonna like go straight at it. So I feel like big businesses and corporation can play a huge role in that, but I feel like a lot of them choose not to because it's scandalous but if it involves men, it would be completely different and it's supporting and it's value.
You know, women are not seeing it as value. And that's what I'm here to change. I'm here to change that narrative because we are valuable in all aspects.
[00:32:39]Stef: I love it. That's why we exist at voice in sport too. So that is why I'm so excited for this conversation. Right. We do need to be loud and we need to be bold about really what is currently the culture and what are we trying to do to shift it. you know? When you think about that for, from your perspective, what, what do you want to see shift?
[00:33:02]CeCé: I want to see, Apart from like the business and elite aspect when it comes to community. I want to see the shift in, in support of each other because even the LGBTQ plus community is not as supportive and together as people think, right. The black community is not as together and supportive as people might think.
Right. And it all starts with just supporting that one person, that one group and believing that with starting with the mentality that supporting one person win, we all win. So like having that mentality really helps. And as an athlete, as an ally, with good sportsmanship, you help support an athlete or a person that really needs help really needs that support you win.
We all win. You know what I mean? Supporting inclusivity and change and changing a narrative. They win. We all win because it's changing the conversation, is opening up that door for us to talk about things that we need to talk about and normalize things that we need to normalize, you know especially that women belong on the big stage always and forever, and will never back down.
They cant break us if we choose not to be broken. So we belong there and we're going to stay. We need to work together.
[00:34:11]Stef: When I was working in corporations, I felt there were other women that wanted to support and lift me up, and then there were other women that wanted to sort of tear me down and isn't that interesting? Like we are the minority here.
Why aren't we all working together to lift each other up? And so I think what you said is like spot on. When one person wins, we do all win and that conversation transcends into the trans- athlete community as well. And I have a hard time with, people who don't see that yet, you know. So I'm trying to think about, how do we get more people to, to feel that way and to
[00:34:49]CeCé: So What that looks like for me is , I would love for people to drop the transness and just see us as female athletes. Cause then that eliminates questions and negative thoughts in itself. Right. Just give us that benefit of including us on the same pedestal that you would include your daughter that you birth.
You know what I mean? Like give us that goodness, give us just that alone. And that would eliminate everything else that comes after. We're women and we're strong together. Nothing else matters. We were focused on supporting and amplifying each other's voices and what we do and supporting each other.
[00:35:25]Stef: What can other women athletes do to change the narrative. Normalize some of these conversations, get more involved.
[00:35:32]CeCé: I feel it's going to take a lot and it is asking for a lot, but I would like for my friends, my female athletes, my Olympic athletes to post on their social media or come out and say if somebody asked them a question or if they were asked the question.
"No, these athletes are my companions. They are my competitors. They are female athletes too. It's like looking at me and seeing that I don't belong here. They belong here just as much as I belong here," that would be huge. And I think that would quiet all the voices that don't really matter or should not have an opinion because they are not competitors.
And they're not on that stage. It's up to us as athletes, as elite athletes, with voices as Olympian to protect our focus and protect our future and guard. What is important to us and voice our opinions on an, off the track. Like we're the ones that are suffering from the rules and stuff you know what I mean? So I think that we need to stand up and just vocalize cause we have that power.
[00:36:32]Stef: And you've talked a lot about education and how passionate you are about education and the importance of that. Where do you feel like are the best educational resources to learn how to be an ally and learn how to be an advocate for each other, like where would you suggest, you know, other athletes to lean into and educate themselves?
[00:36:53]CeCé: Yeah, so my manager in general, he was the co-founder of the Trevor project. So he is also like I counselor, mental health guru professional. He's a very smart mind. Like he's amazing. So his website, Davidmcfarland.com house with a lot has a lot of resources that you can go to.
And it will like pinpoint other athletes like myself and has a little bit of our stories on there. So you can see that, there's hope there's somebody out there with a little bit of information and education. Chris Mosher to translate that trans elite trans athletes.com.
He has helped me with a lot with my, coming up and being a part of the professional athlete world. I've looked to him for a lot of guidance, but then again, like Chris Mosier and I aren't the same, you know what I mean? Like he has different groups when it comes to, the male versus female aspect of it, like for him, there's actually like a little bit of praise, like people actually are praising him for who he is. But definitely trans athlete.com and there's not enough resources for, especially for female athletes also. So need to work on
[00:38:03]Stef: that then. So then let's work on that. Right? I mean,
I think that's coming back to like
said. Yeah. That's do it right. If there, if we needed to be the voice and we talk about inclusion and actually taking action, what does that look like? And Hey, part of it is education. Part of it is creating resources for people.
And you know, honestly like showing how you support. So I think that's why I was asking that question too. Just like, what does it look like for you? What does support look like to you?
[00:38:38]CeCé: Just having a coach, just as an elite athlete, I can tell you, like having a coach is number one and it's so beneficial to your success. It's ridiculous. It's really hard to train yourself. Like you can train yourself. You know what I mean? Especially an athlete like me who was so disciplined in my sport, I cannot divert my, my, my energy into coaching.
[00:38:58]Stef: Well, together, as kind of how we end, today's podcast, you know, we talked about a lot of things. You shared some incredible advice, but if you just take a step back and think about your younger self, or in all the young athletes out there today, what is one thing that you would like to share with them as one piece of advice?
[00:39:16]CeCé: If I could go back and tell myself my younger self something, I would tell her to be fearless and to be unapologetic. And she probably won't understand what that means, but I would say I would explain it and be like, always go for what you dream, go for your dreams and follow them and never stop.
And don't listen to the noise, the negativity around you always be positive. Like that's what I would tell my younger self and that has helped me developed into the woman that I am today.
[00:39:44]Stef: Oh, thank you so much. I mean, it's such an inspiration to, to hear you talk and to hear you share your experiences and also just like a call to action for the athletic community to sort of raise each other up and lift each other up. So thank you for coming on the voice in support podcast.
[00:40:00]CeCé: Thank you for having me.
[00:40:03]Stef: This week's episode was produced and edited by vis creator, Cheyenne Knight, a soccer player from Howard university CE continues to change the narrative for transgender athletes. Following her path. In this episode, she offers great advice on how we as athletes can support each other. While most people use their sport as an outlet.
This can be challenging if the environment is not filled with respect and. CE reminds us that we have the power to create change. And as women and as athletes, we are stronger when we come together, we are so thankful that CE shared her story with us today, and so excited to see all the incredible things she will achieve in sport and beyond in the future, you can follow CC on firstname.lastname@example.org and spend some time diving into the incredible free resources we have at.
Check out the sessions page and filter by professional athlete or journey and sign up for one of the free or paid sessions with our vis league or vis experts. Please click on the share button in this episode and send it to another athlete that you think might enjoy this conversation. You might also wanna check out our other episodes featuring track athletes, like episode number 70 with Karelle Edwards, where she talks about handling abusive coaching relationships.
See you next week on the voice and sport podcast.