Trans teen Verónica Garcia responds to jeers and boos for winning race: ‘Kindness goes a long way’

Trans athlete Verónica Garcia has spoken out after being booed for winning a 400-meter race.

Verónica Garcia, a 16-year-old trans high school athlete, has spoken out and urged people to be kind after being booed for winning a 400-meter race. 

Last weekend, Garcia, who attends East Valley High School in Idaho, became the first trans athlete to place first in the State 2A girls 400-meter run at the track and field championships in Tacoma. 

Verónica Garcia managed to win the race with a time of 55.75 seconds, a whole second faster than the second-place finisher. 

Her feat, which should have been celebrated with cheers, was instead met with jeers and unkind comments.

The incident closely follows a similar one that took place in May, when trans athlete Aayden Gallagher faced cruel boos and hostility from attendees after she won one gold and one silver at the state championships.

Garcia left ‘hurt’ by lack of support

Upon taking the podium to receive her gold medal a voice from the crowd shouted “she’s not a girl”. 

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The cold reaction and lack of congratulations from her peers “somewhat hurt”, Garcia told The Spokesman-Review.

“I guess maybe I expected sportsmanship because I was cheering the rest of them on when they were called. So I guess I expected to get that reciprocated, but I didn’t get that.”

Trans athletes’ participation in sport continues to be a contentious topic with right-wing figureheads such as Riley Gaines and Caitlyn Jenner advocating against their inclusion. 

Conversation around the topic has seen many sports update their policies on “participation and inclusion” in ways that effectively ban trans athletes. 

Riley Gaines sitting in a legislative table.
Former NCAA swimmer and anti-trans campaigner, Riley Gaines. (Getty)

Garcia said of her participation in women’s sports: “I’m just a teenager. I wish people would remember that.” 

Following Garcia’s win Gaines took to Twitter/X in an attempt to belittle the young woman’s achievement.

“In Washington and Oregon this past week, the fastest ‘girl’ in the each state has been a boy,” she captioned a clip of the race which sparked hate-filled comments from her followers.

East Valley Athletic Director Eric Vermaire, who Garcia described as one of her biggest supporters, said of the backlash: “Regardless of the situation, that is still a kid. 

“It’s a polarising situation, but we need to support kids. That’s what we do in education.”

Garcia said she has become used to being discriminated against for being trans, with a lot of the abuse she receives coming from adults. 

The 16-year-old, who began her gender transition last year, said there are “no easy answers” to trans inclusion in sport, but she explained respect should be the priority regardless of people’s opinions. 

‘Kindness goes a long way’

She said: “I’m just a teenager. It’s one thing if you want to advocate for whatever, but your message becomes deflated when you start insulting,” she said. “As soon as you start harassing transgender people, then I think your message starts to fall apart. 

“At the very least, give us respect, because I think the best thing anyone can do is, even if you don’t understand why we’re transgender, the very least is to be nice to us. Kindness goes a long way.”

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