I Never Expected This to Happen to Me…

PatDysphoria, Gym, Masculine of Center, Self care0 Comments

By Patricio “Pat” Manuel

I’m scared of the gym.

It took me months to finally admit this to myself.

I never expected to be in this situation. I’m known as a gym rat. My second home has always been within a boxing club or fitness gym. That all changed though a few months back when I lost my safe space due to the head of my boxing club being transphobic. I lost my gym and my sanctuary all at once.

Shortly after the incident, I left for Salt Lake City to undergo top surgery. The trip and the recovery afterwards allowed me to push off my return to boxing. I kept having convenient excuses why I needed to postpone my decision on joining a new gym.

Finally, last week, I came to the realization: I was scared to go back.

This is entirely out of character for me. I’ve always felt secure in gym spaces, probably more so than I do in queer spaces. I understand both the weight room and the boxing ring. So, where did the sudden fear come from?

I’ve heard so many stories from folks in my community discussing their fear of the gyms, but until now I have never experienced it myself. It has been humbling to say the least. Due to having been well known in boxing locally, my option for being stealth went right out the door. My hesitation stemmed from the same concerns as other queers; questions of which bathroom to use, having to explain my gender identity, correcting use of my old name and incorrect pronouns. These were all things keeping me away from the sport I love more than anything.

When I finally acknowledged I was scared to myself, my pride kicked in. I went to a local boxing gym the very next day to start figuring out where I will be going next. Does that mean I’ve conquered my fears? Hell no, but if I am to return to my sport I have to get over this.

Fortunately for me, the chances of there being violent actions taken against me (outside the ring, of course) are highly unlikely. I am utilizing the same tools I used to battle dysphoria prior to my medical transition; my confidence in my skills and knowledge as well as my cocky attitude.

More importantly, I have the experiences and support of my community to lean on.

That is the purpose of Buff Butch; to create a community of support. Even for the more advance members such as myself. I want to thank you for being there for me and I hope you know I will be there for you as well.

I know together we can continue to create a safe space for queer folks. I know I’ve learned over the past few months it is something I truly need.

Your Brother In Arms,


Today (Sept 6th) at 11am PST/2pm EST is our first live webinar! Check your mailbox or sign up here if you aren’t signed up for the mailing list to receive the link. The topic of discussion will be all about the discomfort we as queer folks feel in gyms.

Leave a Reply