A transgender man from Portland, Oregon has opened up to his soccer team in an inspiring speech about inclusivity.
Kaig Lightner gathered his team around for a pep talk and used his own experience as a transgender man to help the youngsters understand how they can be more accepting of people in their community.
“Some of you may or may not know this, but I am transgender,” Kaig begins in a video taken by a Portland Community Club member.
Lightner is mindful that it’s the first time most of the kids have heard the word ‘transgender’ and patiently describes what it means and invites them to ask questions.
“What that means is that I was born a girl, and I grew up playing soccer as a girl,” he says. “That’s not something I shared with players or people in the sports world very often because it’s not an easy thing.”
One student starts giggling throughout the speech but Lightner continues on, assuring them that it’s OK if they’re confused and light-heartedly scolds the laughing teen.
“It’s really important for me to tell you guys because this is how we build community," he says. "What I want you to know is that there are other people like me everywhere."
Lightner stresses: “You never know what’s going on with someone, and that’s why you’ve got to be kind, respectful and nice as often as you can."
Speaking with BuzzFeed News, Lightner said that it was “part of my responsibility as a privileged white person to share my identity.”
“I recognise that there are so many trans and gender non-conforming people who don’t have the resources, support, or ability to do what I did,” he said. “That’s why I am so open about it in every other aspect of my life."
He continued: "Coming out to the club was the final frontier. To trans youth, I hope that I am just a small light at what I know can be a very dark tunnel, we’ve come a long way but there is still so much more work to do.”