There’s Never One Way: Blaire’s Sailing Story

Transgender – A broad term that can be used to describe people whose gender identity is different from the gender they were thought to be when they were born. “Trans” is often used as shorthand for transgender.” – National Center for Transgender Equality

Age/Name/Years on the water/pronoun

What was the first boat you ever sailed? What was the experience like?
The first boat i ever sailed was a Bug, it’s kinda like your sailing a big bathtub but for my first time ever on the water, i thought it was amazing just being able to do something i thought i would be too scared to ever do, and it’s led me to some wonderful places and experiences.

What about your first race? What kind of boat did you sail, what was the experience like?
My first race was the junior sailing race in Chicago out of Colombia Yacht Club. I sailed a C420 with one of my other friends from our team. I’ll be honest it was really scary. It was gusting 20Kts and 3 foot waves, and for my first race ever I was pretty terrified.

What are you currently doing within the sport? IE teaching, cruising the world, racing etc. tell us about your current/planned adventure, and what you would like to do?
Currently I’m working as a youth sailing instructor on Lake Michigan, working with underserved communities and helping others get into and developing a love for the sport. Right now I’m working on my college plans and how I can fit sailing into my future life.

What would you like to tell someone on the fence with trying the sport?
I would say just go for it, the only way to find things you love is by trying new things. The worst that can happen is it’s not your thing and you’ve tried something new and had the experience, and say you like it, then you’ve found something new that is super good for you and something that will help you meet new people and enjoy yourself with.

What is it like being a trans person in the sport? Is there anything you’d like to tell other young LGBTQ sailors, or perhaps older sailors?
Being trans in the sailing community for me has been absolutely amazing, everyone I’ve met and worked with has been so inclusive with only a few exceptions, for me it’s really easy to meld in with the people around me and feel like I’m the same as them and it’s such a wonderful feeling, being accepted into a community for something you love with all of your heart.

What are some things you’ve learned or ways you’ve grown as a result of being in the sport?
I think a few things that I’ve learned from being in the community and sport is that you really can’t judge people from one single interaction or from one single viewpoint. One way I think I’ve grown is that I think I’ve become much more openminded and appreciative for the different ways people do things, because there’s never only one correct way for something to get done, as well as maybe by watching someone else do something in a different way, you find a better way of doing it that works even better then before.

How do you identify? Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, or thoughts you would like to share?
I identify as trans non-binary which just means I don’t really feel that I’m either a boy or girl just kinda in the middle and it shifts around a little bit but I’ve never regretted coming out about it and letting people in to help with my shift. I think something I want people to know is that no matter what your situation is, someone cares about you and is there to support you, especially within the sailing community, because we all gotta watch out for each other and make sure we all feel loved and cared about because that’s what makes this sport and community so closely knit.

How can the sport be more inclusive?
I definitely feel that in the 7 years I’ve been in the community we’ve become a lot more inclusive already, and opportunities like this, for transpeople and those who are underrepresented in a traditionally cisgendered male sport are a huge improvement. Doing more of the minority-focused work and incorporation definitely could lead to this being a much more diverse and enjoyable sport for all however.