Alex Showerman’s Journey Back to TA
January 08, 2022
Header photo by Katie Lozancich @_katielo
This fall, after visiting Thetford Academy for the first time in 15 years, Alex Showerman ‘06 hopped back in her car and headed west. An elite outdoor athlete, Alex was due in Utah to catch the 20th anniversary of mountain biking’s Red Bull Rampage, the industry’s premier big-mountain freeride event. Turns out, we were lucky to catch her–Alex is a woman who is always moving.
Growing up in the (mostly) unplugged 90s and early 2000s, Alex was an active, outdoor kid. She taught herself to snowboard, climbing uphill over and over again until the downhill part came naturally. There were luge tracks in the backyard, bike features in the woods, and an exhilaration that came from pushing physical boundaries.
Going big, running fast, these were the things that made Alex feel good in her body. As a trans woman, Alex lived most of her life presenting as male. The physicality of sports was one of the coping mechanisms that relieved the anxiety and depression she felt before coming out in 2020. Today, out and proud, Alex is a professional mountain biker in the women’s circuit, and the joy is back in her riding.
At TA, Alex was a scholar-athlete, excelling in academics, running cross country, and playing hockey. She was active in musical theater and chorus and enjoyed those experiences as a teammate and cast member. Before now, though, coming back to TA was not something Alex considered. Despite her successes, her time as a high school student– carrying her secret–was hard. And without representation in the community, it was also lonely.
Today’s LGBTQIA+ community at TA is stronger. When English teacher Jennifer McCall hosted trans activist Liam Magan this fall, Alex noticed. “This is so important,” she commented on TA’s social media post about the event, “I came out as trans 15 years after graduating high school. If I had seen this when I was at TA, I would have come out back then saving me decades of trauma. Thank you for creating this space for us!”
A few weeks later, at the invitation of her former cross country coach, Emily Silver, Alex returned to TA for the first time. She spent time with Emily’s 10th grade English class, whose students came prepared with questions after listening to Alex’s interview with Outside Online. She also joined TA’s QSA (Queer Straight Alliance) during club time. “I was excited to be able to come to TA and provide positive representation for future generations,” Alex shared, “because if you don’t see someone like you, it can feel like you don’t exist.”
At the end of the day, Alex admitted she considered delaying her travel to catch the Woods Trail Run–an event that she competed in each of her six years at TA. “Ms. Silver gave me a really wonderful gift,” Alex reflected. “[Visiting TA] completely reframed my high school experience. Over 15 years after graduating it shows the positive impact a teacher’s support can have and why it is so important to continue to create space for this and future generations of LGBTQIA+ students at TA.”
Maybe next year, we’ll have Alex back as a post-runner. Until then, we’ll follow her career on Instagram – we can’t wait to see what she does next.