Batavia student makes strides on rowing team as a transgender athlete

A Batavia high schooler, who is transgender, is making strides in the rowing community both locally and globally.

Cillian Mullen came out as transgender to his fellow teammates with the Chicago Rowing Foundation over Zoom.

"It was a little bit scary not having known them very well or for very long," explained Mullen. "I had just been rowing for half a year by then."


Mullen says he was immediately given a warm reaction.

"I'm very lucky to have the people I have at this boathouse because they're all very welcoming and very accepting," said Mullen.

This summer, Mullen is competing for a spot on the U.S. team to be part of the Junior World's Rowing Championship. If he makes the team, he will be the first openly transgender person to compete on it.

"Trans women belong in women sports," said Mullen. "I do think that having this chance is a possibility to show people that trans people belong in sports and belong in every space."

The soon-to-be senior at Batavia High school is planning to compete with the University of California Berkeley women's rowing team once he graduates.