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Three transgender women preparing to race Boston Marathon

Barriers come down as trans women achieve Boston milestone

This year at least three openly transgender women have qualified for and been accepted into the Boston Marathon.

Stevie Romer of Woodstock, Illinois, Amelia Gapin of Jersey City, New Jersey and Grace Fisher of Hancock, Maryland have qualified for the world’s most prestigious marathon as their identified gender. The race takes place April 16.  

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As she told marathoninvestigation.com, Romer, 53, actually ran not one, but two Boston qualifiers to be certain of making it into the race, since she knew her initial time of 3:57:11 (at Spring Chance BQ.2 Marathon in Geneva, Illinois) might not guarantee her a spot, even though it met the standard for her age group of 4:00:00. In September 2017 she ran 3:41:19 at the Marquette Marathon, qualifying by a comfortable margin.

Stevie Romer (right), with friend. Photo: Facebook

Gapin, 35, who appeared on the cover of the July 2016 issue of Women’s Running magazine, is a transgender activist whose decision to have gender reassignment surgery that year was motivated by her desire to compete at Boston as a woman. (The BAA has no stated policy on the issue of proving gender.)

Amelia Gapin. Photo: Facebook

Little is known about Fisher, 37, other than what can be gleaned from her Twitter feed. (She is an ultrarunner.) Fisher is mentioned in a feature story about another trans runner, Erin Taylor of Jacksonville, Florida in the January 2017 issue of Folio Weekly, a regional northeastern Florida magazine.

Grace Fisher. Photo: Twitter

In the story, Taylor expresses a desire to be one of the first trans women to qualify for and run Boston, along with Gapin and Fisher, who had already qualified.

The month before the interview was published, Taylor had missed the qualifying time of for women age 35-39 by two minutes at the Jacksonville marathon, but was planning to try again at the DONNA Marathon in February 2017. Though she ended up running 3:39:02 at DONNA, exceeding the official qualifying time by 58 seconds, competition for entry was so fierce that runners needed an extra three minutes and 23 seconds to be accepted into the race. We have a feeling Taylor will be among the growing contingent of trans women as barriers continue to come down at future Boston marathons.

Erin Taylor. Photo: Madison Gross

(UPDATE April 10, 2018: An earlier version of this story stated that Romer, Gapin and Fisher are the first transgender women to qualify for and enter the Boston marathon. That information was not accurate. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.)