Next in our profiles on out TGI athletes, meet Angela Reid!
Name: Angela ‘Easy Break Oven’ Reid
How do you identify or describe your gender?
I’m a woman, who also happens to be transgender.
What sports do you currently play or have you played before?
Until I came out, I was pretty much a casual, solo-sport person. I love mountain biking, snowboarding, and SCUBA diving. Since transition, I’ve fallen in love with roller derby. It’s the only team sport I’ve ever played, and still feels like the only one I’d ever fit in with. Edmonton’s Oil City Derby Girls took me in, at the time I was their first trans skater (possibly the first in the province as well) – they really pushed me to improve as player and I soon joined their All-star team. Thanks to a recent job transfer, I’m currently skating with the Calgary Roller Derby Association’s All-Star team as we prepare for our first season as a WFTDA league.
What’s your typical/favorite position?
I’m pretty much a career jammer. Sometimes they’ll let me pivot but that’s usually as a set up for a star pass! I’d like to improve my blocking skills to be a more rounded player, but it’s hard to find opportunities.
Are you a professional athlete? If not, what do you do as a “day job”?
I’m an electronics technician for a large oilfield service provider. I’ve been with the company for six years, and currently, I mostly work with directional drilling sensor systems.
How would you describe your playing style?
Airborne! I’m known for my jumps, but I’ve also had people describe me as ‘crazylegs’ ‘spideylegs’ and compared to ‘The Gazelle from Hell’.
What do you to get ready for competition?
Warpaint has been a prime way for me to focus in the hours leading up to a bout. I usually like to do something that plays up to the bout’s theme, if there is one, otherwise I just use my imagination. The most elaborate so far was a full kabuki mask, but usually it’s something a little easier to do, like a barcode on my cheek or red stripe across my eyes. I like some variation. Music is also a huge booster: fast, loud, and angry. Hole or Rage Against the Machine work well for this!
What’s your most memorable sports moment or top accolade?
I was named captain of Team Alberta for the 2014 season, so I’m looking forward to playing with our provincial superteam against some of the other provinces this year. It’s hard to pick a most memorable moment though, through derby I’ve shared a lot of high points with my teams!
Who are your athletic heroes?
Hands down, Demanda Riot and Suzy Hotrod are my derby heroes. But I get a lot of inspiration from the freshmeat actually, anytime I see a new skater take a risk learning a new move, or push their endurance further, I’m reminded that ‘Oh, yeah, I need to be doing that!’
What have sports meant to you as a TGI person?
It’s provided huge physical and mental benefits. Tracking the play, the position of the other jammer, the clock ticking down, and picking a line through a swarm of people leaves you no time to worry about dysphoria, passing, or other mental baggage that intrudes during the rest of the day. But another big benefit, that I didn’t expect, is that I’ve educated more people on trans issues through sports than I ever managed in direct trans activism. Seeing a trans woman working with her ‘cisters’ as part of team has significant impact on the public. Suddenly she’s not the ‘other’, she’s just another bruise swappin’ derby girl!
What do you think are the most pressing issues facing TGI athletes?
Policies and the ability to afford participating in sports due to socioeconomic factors are two big ones. Most sports organizations are way behind at managing TGI inclusion, and often the policies that are in place have requirements that either difficult to meet or undesirable. Basing eligibility on surgical status is beyond ridiculous. I still haven’t come across a sport that uses one’s genitalia, someone please correct me if I’m wrong! In the meantime, lowered job prospects and having to save for uninsured medical assistance limits one’s ability to participate. Time for training, league dues, equipment, and travel costs all add up, and for some folks, keeping up with life expenses and transition expenses consumes all their resources.
Please describe a particularly empowering moment for you.
I was invited to guest coach with the Greater Edmonton Junior Derby Association, and later with the Calgary junior team (the Youthanizers)! Juniors are a force to be reckoned with and as they graduate into the adult leagues they are going to dominate the sport of roller derby. In had particular impact for me though, as the invitation demonstrated the total rejection of fear-mongering tropes spread by local anti-trans politicians.
What advice do you have for young TGI athletes?
There are more of you out there than you know! I’ve been approached privately on several occasions by parents of trans kids looking for advice. If it’s safe for you to be out and proud, you just might be the possibilities model they so desperately need.
Is there anyone you would like to thank/acknowledge?
All my old besties at OCDG for being so awesome, and all my new besties at CRDA for doubling-down on the awesomeness!
Any shameless self-promotion? (Website, blog, etc?)
I have a youtube channel where I post derby clips, including many headcam videos from the jammer perspective.
And of course my wonderful league!
This is the third in our series of TGI athlete profiles. Our goal with this series is to promote the diversity and awesomeness of TGI athletes and to help broaden and improve the cultural narrative surrounding us.
If you are a TGI athlete and you would like to be profiled, please send us an e-mail at TGIAthleteNetwork@gmail.com.