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Transgender Athletes Find Community support In Roller Derby

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Photo: Manish Gosalia for espnW
“I was queer and I was an athlete, but I wasn’t a queer athlete or an athletic queer,” said Simonis, who prefers the gender-neutral pronouns “they” and “them.” “Those things didn’t exist.”

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Josie Simonis played every team sport they could get their hands on as a kid. Simonis wrestled, played football and baseball — “It was a major part of my life.” But to get access to all those fields, Simonis had to check an often-misunderstood identity at the door. The world saw Simonis as a boy, but Simonis didn’t have the tools or language to describe themself.

Josie Simonis of the Rose City Rollers congratulates their teammate after defeating the Bay Area Derby Girls at the 2015 championships last weekend.

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I gravitate to people for who they are and the activities I enjoy. We’re here for ; we’re not here for trans roller derby or straight roller derby or gay roller derby.Penelope Nederlander

I very much feel like I’m part of a family of incredibly talented athletes that are so devoted and working together as a team. I definitely have that, but it’s taken a while to get here.Josie Simonis

Photo: Manish Gosalia for espnW

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