When I first transitioned back in 2009/2010, my transition was very much from one side of the binary to the other. Even as I was aware of and happy for people who were living outside of the gender binary, I still saw myself fitting into it.
As a result, I spent a long time trying very hard to achieve some degree of “approved” femininity. This meant that despite loving weightlifting and craving a community around it, I stayed away from gyms and coaches, both for fear of harassment and also because I wanted to program my own workouts to avoid adding too much bulk to my already wide shoulders. I constantly struggled with both loving feeling my body get stronger, but also how dysphoric putting on extra muscle made me feel. But when events aligned and I sucked it up and finally joined a CrossFit gym, I found myself actually loving my body (maybe for the first time ever), and as I started to feel comfortable — just as myself — among the wonderful community at the gym, I started to not care so much about where I fit into femininity (or masculinity). Movement has always felt joyful to me, but the more I let myself enjoy it and celebrate it, the more I realized that the breakdown of male vs. female wasn’t even a factor in this aspect of my life. And then I realized that applied to every part of my life.
The realization itself actually very much reminded me of when I first thought about transitioning: the anxiousness of navigating something new, mixed with the fear of leaving behind something that had defined me for so long, all still undercut by the giddy anticipation of instinctively knowing, “This is me. This is right.”
My relationship with my body, with my gender, and with fitness have all informed each other for as long as I can remember, and even more so over the past five or six years, but now, I feel like they’re indelibly linked. For me, both lifting and CrossFit are transformative activities, both literally and metaphorically: they’ve allowed me to feel agency, control, and ownership over how my body looks and feels, even when I’ve not been super happy with it; they’ve allowed me to not only grow and change every day, but to exceed what I thought I was capable of; and maybe most importantly, they have helped me gain the self-confidence to recognize, accept, and love myself and my body and to define where I fit (or feel comfortable not fitting) into the world.