Olympics’ first-ever openly trans official wished for decades to live her truth as a woman

Haley Daniels canoes: Meet the Olympics' first-ever openly trans official

A Canadian judge has become the Olympic Games’ first-ever openly trans official – and she even has a daughter competing.

At the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, more openly LGBT+ athletes will dive, sprint, cycle and throw than ever before in what has become the most diverse games in modern Olympic history.

The Olympics will even see a raft of athletes become among the first openly trans competitors, including trans and non-binary football player Quinn, non-binary skateboarder Alana Smith and trans weightlifter Laurel Hubbard.

Among the trans trailblazers will be Kimberly Daniels, a canoe slalom judge who has become the first out trans Olympic official, according to CBC.

“I guess I am a pioneer here today,” she told the broadcaster. “I was really hoping to come out and be quiet.

“My goal was always to be seen as a woman, now I have to see myself as a transgender woman and that is also a big step.”

Trans woman wished for decades to live her truth. Now she’s Olympics’ first openly trans judge

With her trans heroes including Caitlyn Jenner, Kimberly, who was a canoe slalom gate judge in Rio in 2016, might end up seeing a rather familiar face in the women’s canoe slalom competition – her own daughter.

Haley Daniels, a pioneering paddler who will represent Canada in the newly introduced sport, is actually quite used to seeing her parent up in the stands.

“My daughter has been fighting for gender equality for most of her paddling career,” Kimberly said in a comment amplified by her daughter’s profile on the official Tokyo Games website which calls her a “vocal advocate for gender equality”.


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“I’ve been going to different international events [for more than 15 years],” she added in an earlier interview with CBC, “some of which Haley’s been at, some where she hasn’t.”

“And my role [at the Olympics] is on the course, signalling different gates and working with an amazing team of international technical officials with the International Confederation.”

Kimberly became a certified international official in 2009. Sport-specific international federations tend to handpick judges, and Kimberly reflected in a 2020 blog post for the Canada Olympic Committee on what being nominated meant to her as a trans woman.

“At age seven I knew I was a girl trapped inside a boy’s body,” she wrote.

“Believe me, it was a scary time back in the 1960s as little was known about gender differences.”

She added: “You know when you have a birthday, you blow out the candles on your cake and you make a wish? That wish is a special wish that you do not share with anyone.

“On every birthday from age seven until into my 60s, my wish was to be a girl – and that was a secret I was prepared to take to my grave.”

“Today I celebrate being my true self as a woman,” Kimberly continued. “Now I feel confident and want to share my secret that has haunted me my whole life.”