Kaylin Whitney ran through Birmingham’s rainbow tunnel to honor the fight for equality and civil rights.
Whitney has been lighting up track and field since she was seven years old. By 16, she set the girls under-18 world record in both the 100m and 200m.
Before she started dominating track, Whitney felt her sexual identity felt different from her peers growing up in Florida. But she decided be true to herself and came out as a teen.
“When I did decide to come out, it was the most liberating feeling I’ve ever had,” she explained in a video with Red Bull. “I don’t care what other people think, I’m gonna be me. And it I know that I’m gay, I’m gonna be gay.”
Whitney ran the rainbow tunnel in Birmingham, Alabama — a city known for many defining civil rights moments — to honor those who fought for, and continue to fight for equality.
“I’ve been discriminated against because of my race, gender, sexuality. Not everyone is going to like you but that’s not your job to make everyone like you. When you work to be someone you’re not it gets exhausting,” she said. “I’m a woman, I’m gay, and I’m of mixed race. You can be who you want to be and you can be unapologetic about yourself.”