June 29, 2023 8 Min Read
Why Olympic Athlete, Chris Kinney, Is Advocating For More LGBTQ+ Inclusivity In Sports
Let’s take a trip back to your childhood and the shape sorter toy. The cube fits into the square box, and the pyramid fits into the triangle box. But which box would a cylinder fit into? The answer may not be as obvious as this particular shape fits this specific box.
Now, let’s apply that same idea to the concept of personal identity. Whether it be sexual, gender, or cultural identity, the world creates labels and boxes (or constructs) for us to fit into—but oftentimes, one label and/or one box just doesn’t fit.
Coming from a diverse cultural background, [TaskHuman Coach] Chris Kinney identifies with a mix of labels and boxes. He identifies as Japanese, White, Black, and Bisexual. His journey towards identifying his labels and boxes happened in middle school. When asked to reflect on his past and when he knew his identity was not defined by only one of society’s traditional constructs, Chris shared what many others experience.
He said, “I was always a bit of a walking mystery… I don’t fit into this neat little box.”
Not fitting into any one ‘neat box’ both culturally and sexually, Chris learned how to “code switch” in order to ‘fit in’ with his peers—a technique defined as changing one’s behavior to best suit the setting and circumstances.
“I grew up having to always kind of code switch and having to magnify one part of my personality or another. While you’re not being fake, you’re still acting out parts of yourself, you are not able to be and express the entirety of who you are.”
Looking to express himself fully, and with the support of his family, he decided to dive into the world of sports—starting with track and later transitioning to bobsledding. He used this as a way to assert his masculinity over his peers and to combat his fear of being seen as less masculine.
He found inspiration and drive in working towards his goal of one day going to the Olympics.
“I promised my grandfather—I’m going to be in the Olympics one day. That’s what I’m going to do.”
In 2018, that goal 30 years in the making was achieved as he represented the USA Bobsled Team in the Winter Olympics hosted in Pyeongchang, South Korea. With millions worldwide watching, Chris came out openly as bisexual—finding attraction to both females and males.
His decision to come out as bisexual was met with a mix of support, respect, misunderstanding and bullying. Throughout his life, this was his experience—always a mix based on the individual’s views and with whom he shared his identity with. But Chris has been working to change that by being an advocate, a voice, and expressing all of who he is.
“This is why I want to have this representation in sports. This is why I think this activism, this LGBT representation in sports is important.”
Between training for the next Winter Olympic Games and advocating for the LGBTQ community to be represented in sports, Chris can be found on the TaskHuman app. He specializes in strength training, goal setting, speed training, and endurance training. He welcomes all abilities, backgrounds and identities to create a safe space to work on your personal fitness goals.
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