At Home In The Outfield

Baseball player Jake Hofheimer finds acceptance and community with his team.


breeze glides through the air as the sun dips below the tree line. The air is cooler than expected in Santa Monica on a May evening, but it's perfect weather for baseball.

Jake Hofheimer, 17, cheers from the dugout as the ball jumps off a teammate's bat. His mop of dark, curly hair peeks from underneath his still-crisp hat as a sideways smile crosses his face. This is Hofheimer's first season with the New Roads School baseball team. He doesn't play as much as he would like, but that doesn't bother him because on the team, he feels like one of the guys, not Jake Hofheimer, transgender baseball player.

Hofheimer came out to his parents, Josh and Lisa, as transgender at the end of eighth grade. Although 2013 was only three years ago, it was a different landscape for transgender visibility. Laverne Cox made her debut as Sophia in "Orange is the New Black" that summer, no one knew the name Caitlyn Jenner, and Janet Mock did not have her own show. With Jake's acknowledgment of his identity, the Hofheimers together began a journey of compassion and love to figure out how to best move forward as a family.

Originally enrolled in an all-girls school at the beginning of ninth grade, Hofheimer was tormented by his peers for being different. He was not out but was still marked as different, which morphed into daily teasing and taunting.

Transferring to New Roads was a welcomed reprieve. The school has been a haven for Hofheimer, who is not the only transgender student in attendance. There are gender-inclusive restrooms on campus, and students are viewed as multifaceted individuals rather than through the lens of their identities by faculty and administrators.

Hofheimer loves baseball as well as other sports, but most of all, he's really just a teenager trying to figure it all out.

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