LGBTQ+ community speaks out after Roanoke College Swim Team presser

ROANOKE, Va. – Members of the LGBTQ+ community are speaking out, showing support for transgender athletes after a Roanoke College press conference Thursday.

Several organizations shared their opinion in a letter called “Hate Has No Place in Roanoke.”

Organizations’ staff members said they want people to feel welcomed.

“I think folks are afraid of what they don’t know,” Peter Volosin said. He was a competitive swimmer at Brown University.

Volosin recalled Schuyler Bailar, the first openly transgender swimmer who transitioned from female to male when studying at Harvard.

“I love the way Harvard handled that,” Volosin said.

Volosin feels more people should be open-minded and said LGBTQ+ athletes already are carrying a burden.

[WATCH: Roanoke College swimmers call on NCAA to address trans athletes in sports]

“Not being able to compete as your authentic self is really hard, it adds that extra burden and it makes it mentally draining,” Volosin said.

Volosin is one of nearly 100 people who signed the open letter “Hate Has no Place in Roanoke.”

In part, the letter reads, “We, the undersigned, as residents of the Roanoke Valley and members of the local community, denounce the presence of national anti-transgender hate groups and speakers, and we stand united in support of all transgender students, student-athletes, and the broader transgender community.”

“We don’t support any kind of strategy that discriminates or deny the rights the transgender community has,” Roanoke Councilmember Joe Cobb said.

Roanoke City Councilmember Joe Cobb also spoke against the Roanoke College Swim Team who feel they are standing up for women’s rights when they say they were manipulated and blindsided.

They claim an unidentified male transitioned and joined the women’s swim team.

“I think every athlete does their best to strive for that kind of extraordinary athleticism and the goals they want to achieve,” Cobb said.

Volosin has a message for those who feel they were beaten by a trans athlete: “In some ways that’s a bit selfish, I should have beat this person, I should have gotten first place, if you should do that, you should be training harder, period.”

If you would like to view the letter, click here: Hate Has No Place in Roanoke, Virginia.

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