At Senda, we believe in fostering inclusivity, diversity, and respect for all athletes. Together with Portland Community Football Club we created a custom uniform that represents everyone in the team. If you want to work side by side with us creating a one and only uniform don’t hesitate to ask.
A Journey of Self-Discovery
Kaig Lightner, formerly known as Katherine Jean Lightner, grew up feeling a sense of unease and discomfort in his own body. From a young age, he knew he was a boy trapped in a girl's body. Throughout his adolescence, Lightner faced bullying and struggled with feelings of not belonging. However, sports became his refuge, providing a space where he could be judged solely based on his performance. After rowing crew at the University of Washington, Lightner moved to Portland and started coaching soccer for children in the city's wealthier communities.
A Vision of Inclusivity
A Moment of Honesty and Acceptance
For years, Lightner had been open about being a transgender man to everyone in his life except his players and their families. He carried a sense of dissonance and knew he needed to address it. On a rainy day in 2017, Lightner gathered his players before practice and shared his truth. He assured them that despite his gender identity, he was still the same person who cared deeply about their development as soccer players and individuals. To his relief and joy, he was met with unwavering acceptance and understanding.
The Impact of Authenticity
Lightner's revelation strengthened the bond between him and his players. Shema Jacques, one of P.C.F.C.'s early stalwarts, expressed how Lightner's story resonated with many of the players who had also experienced feelings of not being accepted. The club continued to flourish, growing in size and expanding its impact beyond soccer. Lightner's commitment to providing resources and support to families during the COVID-19 pandemic further solidified the P.C.F.C.'s reputation as a caring community.
Six years after Lightner's courageous disclosure, the Portland Community Football Club thrives. More coaches have joined the team, and the club's registered player roster has grown to 165. The P.C.F.C. has become more than just a soccer program; it is a symbol of inclusivity and acceptance. Families who initially had reservations about Lightner's identity soon realized that it changed nothing. The P.C.F.C. remains a place where everyone is welcome, regardless of their background, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
Kaig Lightner's personal journey as a transgender man and his dedication to building a safe space for young athletes in the Portland Community Football Club is nothing short of remarkable. By embracing his authentic self and sharing his truth, Lightner has created a powerful environment that fosters acceptance, growth, and inclusivity. His story serves as a reminder that true progress happens when we prioritize compassion and understanding, making a positive impact on the lives of those around us.
Visit Senda’s custom uniforms page to ask for a quotation on the uniform of your organization that you are dreaming of!