Thursday, April 8, 2010

Moving from Transgender and an athlete to a trans-athlete

One of the hardest identity shifts for me was making the change to being a trans-athlete from being a transgender person and an athlete. I know they sound like the same thing but for me they were two very different things. Being a transgender person and an athlete were two seperate identities I held onto. When I was being the athlete I was no longer transgender and vice versa. It was a lot harder living within and in-between these two identities while never being able to be both only one or the other. For a long time I couldn't be both. I was so unsure of my identity as a transgender man for a long time that couldn't embrace being an trans-athlete. When I was busy being an athlete either practicing, competing and lifting I tried so hard to deny and hide my identity and all parts of it. I would try to be anything but trans, I would try to be the butchest butch dyke that ever stone butched. For a long time it was easier for me to be a stone butch dyke than it ever was being a FTM. It was in part due to the reactions of other people and in part due to my shame, disgrace and fear I felt with being trans. I still was entering new ground, I wasn't meant to be a trans athlete, it was taboo and not "allowed". Being trans especially while trying to be an athlete at the same time for a very long time wasn't about my comfort or ease with trying to find myself. It was all about how my gender identity and gender presentation affects how every one else's comfort and morals, and ability to feel like they were in a safe and equitable competing environment. It was virtually impossible to be that while being trans at the same time. When I left the sporting arena I became the "tranny" The queer to be the poster child of diversity for, the one selling out in order to make an AD look good. It took me a long time to start to converge the two identities.
I was starting to hate throwing, and wondering why I was working so hard and sacrificing so much when I couldn't be me and I was starting to not be me in any aspect of my life because of sports. I wasn't welcome in the trans community because of my personal decisions to not transition and not be considered gender queer, and because I was an athlete. I have been alienated from the athletic community because I came out, because I am so "out there" and non-gender conforming. A switch went off in my head and I decided to stop living as two completely different individuals. I began trying to compete as a trans-athlete. Now these aren't changes that anyone could see, they were internal and psychological. I started to love throwing again and I began throwing better than ever once I because a trans thrower. I was happier in my outside life too. Becoming a trans-athlete for me and allowing myself to let go of people's wants and needs and comfortability with who I am I just was. I said fuck it and competed as me. It was very important transition for me to make in order to be happy with what I am doing. It allowed me to strive for even more because for me I want to show the world that Transgender people can be athletes and damn successful. I want to be a person and break through the bullshit so that others can do it to. Transitioning into a trans-athlete helped reach that point in my life.

1 comment:

  1. This is really well put. It hits the head on how integrating identities can be uplifting/freeing.