Jun 14 2023
38. Kaig Lightner - Sport As A Tool For Personal Survival
Kaig Lightner is the founder and Executive Director of the Portland Community Football Club. Kaig recognized that the cost of youth sports precludes low-income youth from accessing the benefits of sport. Founded in 2013, the organization dismantles the barriers to competitive athletic training and opportunity, and provides a safe space for all youth to gain skills, confidence, educational and emotional support.
Kaig knows the importance of access to sport to personal development and health. Assigned the female gender identity at birth and given the name “Kate,” Kaig tells us that he cannot remember a moment in his life where he aligned with being or felt female. As a kid, Kaig enjoyed playing
with stereotypical boys’ toys and dressed and presented in a way that the world sees as a boy. Because of this, Kaig faced persistent teasing, harassment and bullying. He says that the ability to take on another identity—that of athlete on the soccer field—saved his life.
In this episode, Kaig bravely opens up about not fitting into the gender binary and how sport helped him release anxiety, stress and trauma. He discusses the importance of physical movement as a tool to address trauma and the science behind it.
Kaig tells us about his journey to become a soccer coach, the hurdles he’s faced in the process and why he believes the best thing any of us can do is tell and show kids that they are acceptable and belong just as they are.
Finally, Kaig shares how his experience in social work in Portland inspired him to found the Portland Community Football Club. We talk about building trust across diverse communities and why sport is an incredible tool to positively impact peoples’ lives. To this end, we discuss the importance of ensuring access to sport for transgender people.
Learn more about the Portland Community Football Club here.
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