This Soccer Coach Wanted His Team To Be Their ‘Authentic’ Selves, So He Set The Tone With This Big Reveal

"Some of you may or may not know this, but ..."

Kaig Lightner is making headlines for giving his soccer team an inspiring speech on the field. But this wasn't any old speech, this was one in which the team's coach came out as transgender to them in an effort to show them it's OK to be their authentic selves just like he is doing.

The 36-year-old founder of Portland Community Football Club — which serves underprivileged youth in Portland, Oregon — confided his truth with the team recently and a fellow coach filmed the moment he came out to the kids. The clip is simply titled "Authenticity," and it has been viewed more than 50,000 times at the time of publishing.

"Some of you may or may not know this, but I am transgender," Lightner said in the video. "What that means is that I was born a girl, and that I grew up playing soccer as a girl. And that's not something I share with players or people in the sports world very often because it's not an easy thing. We have a lot of rules in sports about how boys play and how girls play. And that's not really fair."

Lightner — who talked about growing up and playing soccer as a female as well as the handling of gender in the sports world — left a coaching job at the age of 26 to begin transitioning. Then, having returned to the coaching world, Lightner felt acceptance as a male. While he could "easily never say anything," Lightner told BuzzFeed News he thought it was his "responsibility" to share his story.

"I started to realize that the players I see every day — whom I love like my own family — weren't getting to really know who I am, and yet I expected them to show up to practice and be authentic, vulnerable, real, and work hard for me and the other coaches," Lightner told the outlet. "That felt inauthentic."

Upon revealing that he is transgender to his team of various ages, Lightner opens up the talk for any questions the kids might have and want to ask in the group setting. The first question one of the players want to ask him elicited a smile: "How old are you?" someone asked.

"These kids come from cultures and religions that are different from my own experiences," Lightner also told BuzzFeed. "I didn't know what their response would be. I really appreciated that the first question was how old I am. I think it speaks to how much this generation of youth have so much more exposure to LGBT people and concepts than I did as a kid."

In addition to teaching his team a lesson, Lightner said he hopes this admission is something that helps other transgender youth around the world.


Watch the full video here:


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