It’s official, Ms. Dr. Joseph L. Simonis (aka Josie) is now a confirmed guest for the 2015 Second Annual Trans* Awareness in Sports Week! Josie was involved in this year’s inaugural event as an interviewee and remained an extremely strong supporter throughout the rest of it.
Josie’s involvement with roller derby began in 2012 when they underwent fresh meat training with the Ithaca League of Women Rollers before moving out to Chicago where they joined the Windy City Rollers (WFTDA affiliated) and Chicago Red Hots (USARS affiliated). Last year, Josie skated in both the USARS Region 3 Qualifying Tournament and the 2013 USARS Roller Derby Nationals, both of which were hosted in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They are next set to compete with the Red Hots at the 2014 USARS Roller Derby Nationals Tournament in Stockton, California on September 28th. With their WFTDA league, the Windy City Rollers, Josie was recently called up to the All-Stars Team and played in their first sanctioned WFTDA bout this past month against Montreal Roller Derby. Josie also skates with the Double Crossers house team and won this year’s home team championship Ivory King Cup.
Something you may not know: Josie was actually an enormous inspiration to me in starting Trans* Awareness in Sports Week. They introduced me to the Trans, Gender Non-Conforming and Intersex Athletes Network (TGIAN) and opened my eyes to the problems with gender policies (something we’re seeing a great deal of discussion about in the media now too), prejudices and stereotypes that exist toward trans* athletes and a whole flurry of really mind-boggling issues that trans* skaters face in their pursuit of inclusion. So, as a member of the trans* community myself, coupled with this new-found realization of the struggles that trans* individuals experience in practically all sports and athletics, I wanted to explore these topics openly in an effort to raise awareness while simultaneously encouraging people to think of solutions. With all of this in mind I, of course, HAD to ask Josie back and I’m thrilled that they said yes!