FOR THE HEROES WE DON'T HEAR ABOUT
Pete’s story is both personal and universal. It’s a story of both gender identity and gender equality as told through the experience of an 8 year old cisgender female who identified as a boy. Although the event was pivotal for her at the time, it is only in hindsight that she has realized the importance of that event in her life and how it might have affected the community in which she lived. What Pete understands now as an adult, is that self identifying as a young boy gave her access that might not have existed otherwise, and forced the hand of adults in her small town to not only grapple with the idea of a girl playing baseball, but the acceptance of a girl identifying as a boy.
As a teacher today, Pete sees this struggle played out still - despite our advancements and laws around equity and inclusion, we are not there as a society. The level of homophobic rhetoric that she still witnesses directed towards children exploring their own gender and sexual identity from often well intended adults makes clear that this is not an issue of the past. The story we are telling through our short film is still an essential part of queer history and the evolution of gender equality both inside and out of the sports arena.
By telling these stories we not only share the history and small battles that created change, but bridge the experience of both LGBTQ+ individuals with those outside our community. In order to continue to create change and erase the notion that difference equals exclusion, we feel sharing stories like “Pete” become a vital piece in our path towards equality and understanding for the LGBTQ+ community. As an inspiration, change doesn’t always have to be grand - it can happen on a small sandlot in Winter Park, Florida and forever change a community.