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Iowa’s First Transgender High School Athlete Found His Truth on the Track

On this airless morning, the sun hangs low, radiating a sticky heat as sweat flattens Christiason’s normally coiffed hair. Performing balletic movements to string his iPhone through his shirt without losing rhythm, he whips off the perspiration-covered tee and tucks it into his shorts.

His bare chest isn’t exactly out of place on this busy Cedar Falls trail, but what is rare are the deep mauve marks forming two perfectly straight lines just under his pecs — the scars left behind from the mastectomy Christiason endured to remove his breasts.

The colored bands are a physical reminder of his emotional journey to a recent milepost: Coming out as transgender and, in the process, becoming the first known transgender high school athlete to compete openly in Iowa.