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He was born with the body of a woman, but 27 years later, he managed to become what he always wanted. After many battles – both physical and mental – Thomas Page McBee transformed himself into a transgender boxer, who, in addition to fighting in the ring, writes literature and shares his experience with the world, because “it is not easy for anyone to be born in the wrong body ” What motivated him to change? What inspired him to fight? Here we tell you everything.
Transsexuals usually have a common phrase ” I was born in the wrong body” , but that is the reality of Thomas Page McBee, who from an early age, knew that what he saw in the mirror, did not agree with what he felt.
When she was a girl, they used to call her a “tomboy”, or a little feminine. His life was subjected to the torture of his stepfather, who humiliated and mistreated him constantly. Besides having to fight with his own identity, Thomas had to face a ‘monster’ that at home, lurked daily.
He had to invest thousands of dollars, undergo more than three surgeries and rely on a lifetime of a testosterone injection, to be able to stand in front of the mirror and feel satisfied with what he sees. His transition was completed in 2012, 31 years after his birth.
Boxing taught him what a ‘masculine’ identity means
He enrolled in a boxing gym, with the purpose of understanding masculinity from the point of view of violence. It was difficult to understand why men resorted to the physical rather than the emotional, and in order to become one, they had to adapt to what society understands as ‘masculine’.
“When I changed sex I had to learn to be a man, and although I felt much more in harmony with my body then, I was not happy with a society that only accepted a way of being”
Thomas, explains that society is extremely accustomed to a particular ‘type of man’. He tends to be tough, strong and he should not show his feelings, but he insists that masculinity has become a kind of punishment for man’s feelings. “The toxic is not masculinity, but the way it is taught to be”
What is masculinity? You have to create ‘more models of man’
At the beginning of his transition process, Thomas had to learn what it really meant to be a man, with all the precepts that society has about it. In his book “A Real Man”, he approaches from his point of view, how men are ‘forbidden’ to feel or show themselves vulnerable.
“In the United States the child is educated to be a man and the toxic is not masculinity, but the way in which it is taught to be. For example, teaching to hide feelings, to dominate, not to be connected with empathy (…) We have to create more models of masculinity, more options to be a man “.
Thomas explains in his book, how society isolates man from feelings, analyzes it from the point of view of the boxer and concludes that even, man is completely removed from the need for physical contact by the parameters of society.
“Men are less toileting than women and have a harder time saying they feel lonely. I know it from my experience, my transformation. Now people touch me less. And loneliness leads to suicide, and I can say that men experience loneliness more than women, “he said in an interview with El País.
The importance of having an ally
Now, Thomas is happily married and is legally a man.
His transition was not simple. Thomas had to go through not only the mistreatment of his stepfather, the rejection of society and even his own depression and anxiety, but he also lost his mother because of alcoholism.
In order to deal with all these emotional battles, he took refuge in literature and boxing.
Literature “is the great gift, it allows to be in the mind of another person and to unleash what he feels, to live in other emotions. Literature makes me feel part of the human family and know that there is nothing of me that is the same in another, “he explained.
And boxing helped him understand what his male identity really was. “Thanks to boxing I know my strengths and my weaknesses . My body is not perfect, but I feel it. In a ring violence is consensual, do not hit someone who does not want to be involved or who is weaker. It is a joint decision, “he said.
Thomas, besides being a boxer and amateur writer, works as a journalist collaborator in media such as The New York Times, Playboy, among other media. He also works in the United States giving talks about his condition to the LGBT community.