A transgender 17-year-old in Canada has become the first biological female student to join the high school's varsity football team.
In a recent interview with CTV News, Kennedy Cooley, a senior at Halifax West High School in Nova Scotia, Canada, explains that he left his former high school because he felt many of his classmates weren't supportive of his lifestyle or the LGBT agenda.
Considering the contentions students had at the former high school, Cooley said that he was initially unsure of whether or not he wanted to tryout for the Halifax West football team this summer.
"I'd heard that a lot of the guys are like family, they really get along together, they all know each other, and they're really close friends, and I was just really nervous about going in there and maybe, somebody wasn't okay with me being transgender," Cooley explained.
Despite Cooley's unsureness of what people might think, he decided to try out anyway.
"I was scared of what other people would think about me on the team and I felt like I wouldn't fit in," Cooley added. "It took me about a good hour of pacing around the school and then I finally had the courage to go up and grab a pencil and I decided to put my name on the [tryout] list."
Cooley earned a spot on the team as a wide receiver and has been welcomed as the first transgender member of the Halifax West Warriors football squad.
"It's very family-oriented. You feel like you're a brother, you don't feel like you're a player," Cooley said. "They're just so open and they accept you for who you are."
Although Cooley is relatively new to football, West Halifax coach David Kelly told CTV that Cooley's presence gives the team a "perspective that they probably would not have had before."
"He is very new to the sport, so I think he is still in the process of learning the game and that aspect," Kelly said. "As a teammate, he seems to get along with everybody."
Cooley's mother, Pam Reinders-Cooley, is supportive of her child's decision to join the football team.
"Everybody has been welcoming and just treats him like one of the other guys," Reinders-Cooley said. "That's what he wants to be — included — and he wants to be one of the other guys. I thank the team for everything that they've been doing and have done and continue to do. They seem to be a great group of kids."
Cooley's story comes as more and more transgender athletes are beginning to compete in sporting events designated for the opposite biological sex.
This summer, American Chris Mosier, a biological female, became the first openly transgender athlete to earn a spot on the United State men's national team. The duathlete is also the first transgender athlete to compete at a world championship.
Additionally, Mosier was also the first transgender athlete featured in a Nike commercial and also the first transgender individual featured in ESPN's "Body Issue."
Last school year, controversy surrounded one biological male student athlete in Alaska who became the first transgender to compete for a high school track championship.
Although the student, named Nattaphon "Ice" Wangyot, won third place in the 200-meter dash and fifth place in the 100-meter dash, some activists voiced concern about the unfairness of having a biological boy compete with girls.
Alaska Family Action President Jim Minnery and about a dozen of conservative supporters of his organization protested outside the track meet.
"We are here today as a voice from the community to ensure that female athletes are not denied the playing opportunities and scholarships otherwise available to them and to make the playing field even again," Minnery said during a press conference, according to the Alaska Dispatch News. "Allowing students to play on teams of the opposite sex disproportionately impacts female students, who will lose spots on track, soccer and volleyball teams to male students who identify as female."