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Everlast features trans pro-boxer’s powerful coming out story in groundbreaking ad

Patricio Manuel, transgender boxer, coming out story, Everlast ad
Photo: YouTube screen capture

The boxing gear company Everlast has released a four-minute ad featuring Patricio Manuel, the first trans male boxer to compete and win a match at the professional level. Manuel’s appearance in the ad is a big deal considering boxing’s  stereotype as an ultra-macho sport dominated by non-queer men.

Related: Bisexual boxer Nicola Adams named Female Athlete of the Year

In the ad, Manuel discusses the difficult decision he had to make after realizing he could no longer continue “living the lie” as a boxer assigned female at birth. His colleagues warned him that transitioning would “throw away” his entire sports career.

Manuel says he told them:

“If it meant that much to me to risk the love of my life, boxing, then they knew that it was something that was valid. No one just throws away a possible chance at going to the Olympics or becoming a world champion because this is something they’re half-in about.”

“During his transition, Manuel lost his coach, his gym, two jobs and a handful of friends and acquaintances,” writes NBC.

Here’s the Everlast ad:

Amid footage of his training, Manuel says:

“I want all of us to be who we are and be unafraid and not to have to deal with every obstacle just to be our authentic self. … So many of us are being forced into these restrictive boxes of identification, but very few of us actually fit, and I want to see all of us be celebrated when we fight against those specific restrictive norms.”

Everlast’s “Be First” ad campaign — a boxing term which means making an opponent follow your pace — showcases a “new crop of trailblazers” including Fransonet Martinez, a boxer lost his left leg in a car accident two weeks before his first pro-fight, and the Banderas family, a Mexican clan who rose from poverty to begin training as Olympic boxers.

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