Cal Calamia
Photo provided

It’s Cal Calamia’s moment on the big screen!

The non-binary, transmasc runner, who’s completed 10 major road marathons and advocated for inclusion every step of the way, is the star of a new short film: Out of the Dark: Cal Calamia. The doc is directed by award-winning filmmakers Sarah Klein and Tom Mason, and chronicles Calamia’s inspiring journey.

“When we first heard about Cal Calamia’s remarkable achievement in winning the non-binary category of the Chicago marathon, we were intrigued,” they said. “We had been asked to create a series of short films for PBS focusing on athletes and mental health, and Cal’s story seemed like a perfect fit.

“Here was an accomplished transgender runner blazing a trail in the competitive world of elite running. He had an openness about his mental health struggles… plus he had an incredible smile.”

We would agree!

The Bay Area resident, who uses he/they pronouns, came out as transmasculine in 2018. The following year, Calamia underwent top surgery, which removes breast tissue. Finally free, they kept running the entire way.

“Running was absolutely life-saving for me,” Calamia says in the trailer. “Even with all of the grief and loss and change that has been my life, I realized that if I could get around those mental hurdles, I could truly do anything, even if it’s hard.”

Calamia was an NCAA Division I track and field athlete at St. Louis University, and is still an elite athlete today. They won the New York City Marathon’s non-binary division last November, a true highlight.

“I am speechless. I just won the world’s biggest marathon. This is your reminder that trans people can do ANYTHING,” they posted on Instagram.

However, Calamia almost didn’t make it to the starting line. A few months before the race, the lifelong runner received a message from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency informing them they were at risk of being ruled ineligible due to testosterone usage.

Calamia uses testosterone for gender-affirming medical care, and successfully fought for their right to compete.

“I was heartbroken at the thought of losing running– of being unable to step up to the start and these major races,” they posted following the event. “Today, I not only got to do what I love, but I closed this chapter where it opened in the best possible way.”

Calamia ran 10 races in 2023, finishing up their season with the Berkeley Half Marathon in mid-November. It was an appropriate place to end, for the Bay Area is home. They are also the first non-binary winner of the San Francisco Marathon.

An Illinois native, Calamia drove to San Francisco when he was 21 years old, packing his entire life into his car. He’s been in California ever since.

In addition to running, Calamia has a wonderful partner, Ariel, whom he celebrated on Valentine’s Day with stunning photographs.

“My heart overflows today and every day for Ariel who loves me in a way I could have never dreamed was possible,” they wrote.

Already this year, Calmia has won the Los Angeles Marathon’s non-binary division, and competed in his second Boston Marathon as well.

“This would not have been possible without the support and care of so many people,” they wrote after winning LA.

Calamia’s crew showed up in droves in Boston, considered one of the most challenging courses in the world. “Words cannot express how joyous it was to bring together queer folks and allies from all over the world to connect, move our bodies, take up space, and celebrate each other,” they wrote.

“When I meet y’all and you share what was missing from your life when you were younger, my promise to you is that we are creating it now.”

Out of the Dark: Cal Calamia premiers Friday, June 7 at the Tribeca Film Festival. Watch the trailer below:

Don't forget to share:

Help make sure LGBTQ+ stories are being told...

We can't rely on mainstream media to tell our stories. That's why we don't lock Queerty articles behind a paywall. Will you support our mission with a contribution today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated