A high school football team has recruited its first trans player.
Kennedy Cooley has been “welcomed with open arms” by the boys team of Halifax West High School in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Cooley, 17, says he was initially “really nervous” about joining the team, in case “somebody wasn’t OK with me being transgender.”
However, he now says he feels like “a brother, you don’t feel like you’re a player.”
“They’re just so open and they accept you for who you are.”
The sports fan says he moved to the school – which he says wasn’t “very accepting” of LGBT students – because he felt lonely.
“Everybody has been welcoming and just treats him like one of the other guys,” his mother, Pam, told CTV News.
“That’s what he wants to be — included — and he wants to be one of the other guys,” she said.
“I thank the team for everything that they’ve been doing and have done and continue to do.
“They seem to be a great group of kids.”
The team’s head coach, David Kelly, also praised the young players, saying their new addition “helps the team understand issues that transgender youth face” and “give them a perspective that they probably would not have had before.”
Despite the teen’s welcoming Cooley, there are still very few openly LGBT sports people playing across the world.
In the UK, for example, there are currently no openly gay footballers in the top tier of UK football.
The CEO of Premiership team Arsenal recently said he is “absolutely convinced” players will come out in the near future – but so far none have been willing to come forward.
Watch Cooley’s story below: