Alex Trujillo will be a junior in the fall at Laguna-Acoma High School in New Mexico. Alex was declared male at birth but transitioned to female between 9th and 10th grades.
Alex wanted to continue her athletic career as part of the girls volleyball team. Coaches and officials at the school had no problem with that, but it turned out that the state of New Mexico was unprepared.
I talked to the principal and the coach … [about] if it was OK for me to start going to volleyball conditioning. And they said they didn’t see a problem with it, but they would check with the NMAA [New Mexico Activities Association] to make sure it was OK. So I went to one day of volleyball conditioning, and a few days later I was told that I couldn’t [play]. … That was really devastating for me.
I just cried. It may not seem like a big deal … but it made me feel like I was less than my peers, that I didn’t have the same rights and the same privileges. And it really hurt knowing that I was still seen as a male in the state’s eyes.
NMAA's official stance is that the gender on the birth certificate is the only gender an athlete can compete under.
And in New Mexico changing the birth certificate can only be accomplished after the completion of gender reassignment surgery. That surgery is unavailable to transgender youth, both financially and because it is thought to be medically inappropriate for minors.
As a result, Trujillo has emerged as a one-man protest squad, speaking out about what she perceives to be gender discrimination and rallying support behind transgender athletes nationwide, a process which she hopes will only gain significant steam after Caitlyn Jenner’s speech Wednesday.
I loved Caitlyn Jenner’s speech. It was so inspirational and I’m really glad she’s finally becoming who she is. One thing she said about … thousands of transgender youth are coming out and finding themselves, and that really spoke to me.