Canucks Take You Can Play to a Whole New Level, and they do it Right!

Lyssie Avatar 2Today has been such a rush of emotions. It started with me getting frustrated with my family, then with the team I coach, but nothing can get me off cloud nine now. After reading about Cory Schneider and the Vancouver Canucks showing their support and acceptance of trans athletes, nothing can touch me.

This news hits home for me in too many ways to even count. I’m transgender, a goalie, a Canucks fan, and I’ve been a Cory Schneider fan since he was at Boston College. I think what had the biggest impact on me, though, was the timing of this story. My dysphoria-induced depression hit me hard over the past month; my birthday always seems to do that to me. I’ve been having a lot of bad days lately, with very few things that could put a real smile on my face. Reading about my favorite team, and my second favorite goalie, coming out in support of trans athletes makes it very hard for me to stop smiling now.

Cory and cory 3

Cory Oskam’s amazing story is far from typical, for obvious reasons, I mean, how many kids get to skate with their hero? I wish I could offer my own story of coming out to my team, or my parents, but I can’t. I can’t say that the reaction Cory got from his parents is what most trans men and trans women experience; he is a very lucky guy to have that kind of support within his own family.

But even with accepting and loving parents, coming out as transgender is probably one of the most stressful and emotional experiences a person can go through. The fact that he came out to his team this way proves that he has more guts than anyone. I have so much respect for that man. I hope his life is full of happiness, and he lives the way he feels is right for him. He’s already shown the world that he can overcome even the worst of obstacles. I’m sure he will succeed in anything he puts his mind to.

Cory and Cory 2Now, I have to talk about Cory Schneider. I’ve been a huge fan of his since he played for Boston College. When my lifelong favorite team drafted Schneider I was overcome with joy. My second favorite goalie, and my favorite goalie (Luongo), would be on my favorite team! I thought it couldn’t get better than that. Then, a few years later, the Canucks and Cory, came out to support the You Can Play Project. I told myself, “Lyss, it doesn’t get better than this. Your favorite team and goalies are part of history, pledging to support LGBT athletes in sports.” But then, then this happened, and now I find myself saying, “listen up girl, if you say it can’t get better than this, they are gonna turn around and do something HUGE again.” So of course, I have to say that it won’t get better than this (countdown to the next amazing move by the Canucks starts….now!).

I have so much respect for Schneider, more so now because of his support of trans athletes. In fact, the way I am seeing things here, Cory’s attitude towards trans athletes doesn’t need the qualifiers; he supports people. It doesn’t seem to matter to Schneider whether you’re male, female, gay, straight, cis, trans, or anything else. As far as I can tell, Cory Schneider will respect you unless you give him a reason not to. That means more to me than anything. For one of my favorite athletes, and a personal inspiration, to be that open, accepting, tolerant, and compassionate, it just melts my heart.

I would be remiss if I didn’t give immense amounts of respect to Derek Jory, the author of the piece on Cory and Cory. Writing about transgender people is a difficult task for most cis people, especially when it comes to pronoun usage. In my opinion, Derek did an outstanding job telling Cory’s story. I particularly found his use of female pronouns in the past tense only to be not only sensitive to Cory’s transition and acceptance of himself, but also a model for other journalists to use when discussing transgender individuals.

If someone wrote a story on me, I hope they would use the same approach as Derek; only use male pronouns when talking about my past. I’ve read his pieces before, and love his humor on twitter, but to see this side of him, this truly inspiring piece of journalism, this raises the bar beyond what I expected. I’m gushing now, but I just really, really, really want to thank Mr. Jory for being a responsible, open-minded journalist, and overall a fantastic human being.

Cory and CoryI hope, one day, to have the opportunity to meet the person I named myself after just like Cory did. And guess what, she’s a huge Canucks fan, too! I am insanely jealous of Cory for getting to meet his hero and namesake. As a trans girl, I know how much it means to finally find the right name. Some trans men and trans women chose a name they like, or that they think sounds good. But Cory and I have a different story, we both chose a name that feels right, but also pays homage to our heroes: Cory Schneider and Alyssa Campanella. And Alyssa, if you’re reading this, thanks for being the perfect role model!

I want to thank the Canucks organization and Cory Schneider for not only allowing Cory Oskam to share his story, but also for giving me a reason to smile. It was just the thing I needed to help me out of an endless string of horrible weeks. Enough about me, though. This story is about Cory, and the rest of the trans athlete community. To be completely honest, this is the best thing to happen for trans athletes, well, ever. Thanks to everyone involved. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

xoxo, Lyssie :’)

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16 Responses to Canucks Take You Can Play to a Whole New Level, and they do it Right!

  1. citricsugar says:

    This kinda made my day, too. I’m still not cheering for the ‘Nucks on the ice but I can definitely get behind them on this one. Not being LGBTQ myself, I can only imagine how hard it is for these young people to find their paths to adulthood but I get a real rush every time I hear of a new ally.

    I think I’ll always get a little tripped up by the pronouns. I had a professor from Greenland whose first language was Inuk. There are no separate pronouns to distinguish gender in it and even after years, she would occasionally refer to a male student as She or vice versa. I always thought it was a little bit sad that learning English meant she had to distinguish between them in the first place.

  2. Thank you Lyssie for you kind words and sharing your story too. Cory is an awesome kid and transitioning was a huge and scary step that he handled with grace and courage. A huge part of that courage was drawn from the LGBT community and especially other trans men and women who have gone before. Thank you!

  3. Kai Tross says:

    While I can’t say I won’t be cursing Cory Schneider the next time they play the Hawks, this is one of the greatest stories of support I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if I’d even be able to stand on that ice if it were me. Triple props to Jory for handling trans issues with grace, especially in the wake of some insane hate from journalists.

  4. Unknown says:

    In response to Cory’s story, I personaly feel that the Cancuks organization should leave politically/morally charged issues, such as trangeder identity, off the ice. This really doesn’t have anything to do with hockey, rather it is an socially contested issue being wrapped in sport. Encouraging a child to engage in gender reidentification is shameful.

    Apparently a child (teenager) that does is not responsible enough, nor has the legal appreciable capacity, to buy alcohol, smoke, vote, or drive (cory was 9 at the beginning of her transition), DOES have the appreciable capacity to ALTER THEIR GENDER?

    Does no one else see something wrong with this?

    I would not be suprised if this message was taken down simply due to the silencing of contention that takes place surrounding such a topic. However, I hope others that disagree do read this in order to recognize that there are still people willing to freely express themselves, regardless of the negativity that ensues.

    • GayCanuck says:

      Just how much do you know about this issue to be making such ridiculous pronouncements? My guess is nothing. The Canucks have an amazing community outreach program that reaches out to ALL fans, not just the ones that conform to your narrow definition of a hockey fan. Doing a piece featuring a transgendered fan whose idol is Cory Schneider has nothing to do with “encouraging a child to engage in gender reidentification.”

      Two Canucks players and Fin, the mascot, also walked in last year’s Vancouver Pride parade to reach out to LGBT fans and their community. By your logic, their goal was to turn other fans gay. MEMO: it’s not possible to turn a heterosexual into a homosexual no matter how much you may fantasize about it.

      It is not the Canucks turning this into a political or moral issue, you are.

      • Joel says:

        For the record, the piece most certainly did advocate the encouraging of gender reidentification towards children. Infact, that was the entire message! I’m not one to get involved in political or social issues but as a life-long Canucks fan I was definitely dissapointed that the orginization took such a strong pro stance on such a heated and controversial subject.

        • fnerb says:

          Also for the record, you know that sex and sexuality aren’t actually a choice, right? This shouldn’t be “a heated and controversial subject” by the simple expedient of being irrelevant. If you watch someone play hockey, sell you a television, or take your blood pressure, it doesn’t matter what sex they are.

          This isn’t a case of REidentification at all, and it never is: it’s PUBLIC identification. The person involved isn’t changing their identity so much as they are revealing it to others.

    • Chase Canis says:

      Just want to say that gender does not equal sex…
      Sex is the parts that we are born with, while Gender is our identification as masculine or feminine. This has absolutely nothing to do with sexual orientation.

      We all know that there are physical differences in men and women; the way their brains function being just one example. Trans individuals have a brain that functions like their desired sex. This leads to an understanding and a valuing of the opposite gender roles.

      People dont CHOOSE to just willy nilly change their gender.. That would be the silliest thing they could do. Trans individuals endure so much pain and hardship as well as fear of personal harm that i cant believe anyone would think they would just chose that if there were other options.

      Cory began his transition at 9? no… he took hormone blockers to keep from the onset of puberty while he figured out what he wanted. The story stated that he took hormones only a year and a half ago… So he took several years in an androgynous state. Hormone blockers do absolutely ZERO unreversable “damage” and are a great way to buy some time while kids deal with their ideas and issues.

      Your vision of self is present LONG before sexual identification… Knowing you are a boy or a girl happens about the same time Cory decided he wanted super man underroos.

      As far as the canucks taking on a “Heated Social Issue” I think theyre saying it shouldnt be a “Heated Issue” at all. Let people be who they are and do what they do. You shouldnt be judging that family or how they work through their problems. Im sure you have enough of your own issues to worry about. In general I would encourage you to keep your hate and insecurity to yourself and allow people to love eachother without judging them.

      Peace out.

    • Chase Canis says:

      you said;

      I hope others that disagree do read this in order to recognize that there are still people willing to freely express themselves, regardless of the negativity that ensues.

      WOW…
      Thats exactly what Cory thinks id bet!

  5. First of all, gender identity and driving/voting/smoking/drinking are not at all analogous. Gender identity is something known within one’s own self. Just as you know what gender you are, so to does a transgender individual. The only difference is that you don’t have a disconnect between your birth gender and your gender identity. That’s it. To put transitioning in the same category as such random external activities is exceedingly offensive and rude. Your argument holds zero weight.

    Second, you showed your ignorance on this topic by stating the Cory started his transition at 9 years old. That’s not what happened. Hormone BLOCKERS essentially put puberty on hold until the individual has the mental and emotional capacity to make the decision whether to transition or not. The article CLEARLY states that Cory started hormone TREATMENTS a year and a half ago (at 14.5, not 9). Also, the decision to transition isn’t one you make on a whim. I know that I personally struggled with my gender identity for close to 15 years. I didn’t make the decision to transition until I was 24. It’s not like waking up and deciding to have waffles instead of pancakes. In the states (at least), hormone replacement therapy requires at minimum 3 months of intense therapy, but most have to go much longer after that before a doctor will prescribe hormone replacement therapy. Also, it’s not “gender reidentification.” Cory identifies as male, but was born female. I identify as female, but was born male. Speaking only on my behalf, I never identified as male, therefore identifying as female is not a reidentification by any means. If you’re trying to refer to gender reassignment, then you’re confusing hormone replacement with surgery, yet another sign of your lack of knowledge on this topic.

    Third, you say “encouraging a child to engage in gender reidentification is shameful.” Well, sir or madam, I disagree wholeheartedly. In fact, as a trans girl who was repressed for close to two decades by intolerant and ignorant parents, the stifling of a child’s own personal identity, whatever that may be, is shameful. You won’t understand how much your words hurt until you have a gender nonconforming child who makes the decision to transition, with our without your approval.

    Fourth, gender is NOT political or moral. It is strictly personal. You demean me, Cory, and all other transgender men and women by explicitly stating that our journey, our transition, is some political statement or pawn, and implying that in some sense we tread on some moral/immoral line.

    Fifth, your pronouns are all wrong.

    • Oh thank you so much Lyssie, for saying all that better than I ever could. I feel so strongly that parents of gender non-conforming children should help their kids access hormone blockers. To do so, is not making a decision for your child, but to NOT do so, is absolutely making a desision for your child. Hormone blockers gave us time. Time for Cory to decide without his body betraying him.
      There is quite an medically and pschologically monitored protocol also, it is not the whim of a parent or child to make these decisions in isolation.
      The issue of a child being too young to know who they are is one that bothers me. Do parents ask their cis-gendered children is they are sure they are male or female?
      A common theme I am hearing is, what does this have to do with hockey. Cory has lived a breathed hockey since he was four. I do think it was because he could put on a helmet, and it didn’t matter that he was male or female. He was a damn good hockey player, an nobody cared.
      Sadly, however, most of the gender non-conforming kids I have met over the years have felt they could never participate freely in organized sports, because of thier gender identity, or expression. It was a huge fear of Cory’s before he transitoned that he would not be able to play hockey.
      The Canucks did a wonderful thing by showing kids, you can play hockey, no matter who you are. It is in fact a role of professional athletes and team to model inclusiveness and kindness in our communities.
      That said, Cory was standing on the ice, not because he was transgendered, but because he was a member of the Britannia Hockey Academy and it was his birthday. He is a valued member of his team because he can stop the puck.

      • You are quite welcome, Nicole. :)

        I got very angry reading that anonymous comment. I have parents just like that, which is why it took me until 24 to accept myself, and 25 until I could start transitioning (still waiting on that one though). All my pent-up emotions kind of made me snap.

        I agree with every single word you said. I’m glad that there are parents out there like you. You deserve the Mom of the Century Award.

        Please give my best to Cory, and tell him he has a big fan in the states!

        xoxo Lyssie

  6. Tyler says:

    Don’t worry about the anonymous users comments. His or her outdated views simply represent their intolerance to anyone who does not fit a cookie cutter profile that many religious types think is mandatory for whatever warped reasons they have. As long as you are confident in your self and behave respectably towards your fellows, those of us who do not discriminate over things that do not affect us will support you wholeheartedly. Seeing as the majority (if not all) of the LGTBQ do not try to convince “straight” people to swich over, I have nothing but respect for your lifestyle choices. It is people like the anonymous user (though likely having sexual preferences more close to my own) trying to push their beliefs on others that is the real problem with our society.

    Well done Schneids and the Canucks for their support and tolerance where it is richly deserved.

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