Transgender Olympic boxer Patricio Manuel is part of Everlast’s “Be First” ad campaign featuring boxers who are part of a “new crop of trailblazers.”
A four-minute ad from the boxing gear company exclusively features Manuel (below) as he discusses becoming the first trans male boxer to compete professionally and winning a fight at the professional level.
In the ad, Manuel admits he struggled with the decision of whether to keep “living that lie” and continue boxing as a female competitor or to transition to male. He says:
“A lot of people in boxing who I talked to, they would come to me and say, ‘You could have been one of the greatest female world champions, though you would throw it all away to be yourself.’ And I’d tell them, that’s how bad I felt living that lie. 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.”
Here is Evertlast’s nearly four-minute mini-profile of Manuel:
Manuel uses boxing as a metaphor for the battles he’s had to face just to live authentically as a trans man. “During his transition, Manuel lost his coach, his gym, two jobs and a handful of friends and acquaintances,” writes NBC.
Near the end of the ad, Manuel shares the following wish:
“I want to live in a world where being yourself isn’t seen as this courageous act. 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. And I think that’s something that’s universal… regardless of your race, ethnicity, class background. 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.”
The other trailblazers of the “Be First” campaign include “an amputee fighter and a family of immigrants from Mexico who are amateur boxers.”