Today 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 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.
Now, 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.
I 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 :’)