Aktualisiert: 21. Feb.
Pole Dance is a sport that invites an exploration of the body.
As I have invited friends to join me inthe studio, I've often heard statements such as “I'm not fit enough! My body isn't made for this!”, thoughthat fear often disappears as they start to have fun dancing. Many people find pole dancing to be a way to connect with their bodies, grow confidence in their abilities no matter their skill level, and find joy in physical movement.
My physical journey has been a little different than most.
I have been a dancer in one form or another for many years; I started learning east coast swing, lindy hop, blues and fusion dancing during high school. I continued to dance and teach these styles through college, and
I carried these skills with me as I began a brief career in burlesque dancing. As I performed across multiple states and cities, I began to realise that this performance of exaggerated femininity was a costume that I was wearing all the time, not just on stage. It took many years to fully figure this out, but I finally fully dove into medical transition shortly after my 25th
While living and studying in Honolulu, I started my journey as a pole dancer as well. Surrounded by full length mirrors, I couldn't avoid the frustrations with my body. I felt so weak, and while wearing revealing clothes was important, it showed how feminine my body was. Other men learned strength based moves with ease while I was struggling to get off the floor. I kept training, I started weight lifting in my spare time, and my confidence grew. Still, it was hard to look in the mirror. I may have been getting stronger, but I still saw a woman in looking back at me.
After starting to take testosterone, my body finally started changing in ways that felt like I was
finally home. Hormone therapy is a slow process; as I write this two years later, I know that there are still more changes in store for me in the future. Even so, it feels like magic. The features of my body were always in my genetics, it just took the right medicine to unlock them. Those full length mirrors are a friend to me now, as I can finally recognise myself in them. I love being able to perform on the pole as myself! I am growing into the man I have always unconsciously known myself to be, and striving to guide others who are figuring this process out for themselves.
However, being transgender in pole dance is still scary.
As I start to compete, some organisations ask me to prove that my prescriptions are legitimate and not a way to cheat. I worry about other students, performers, judges, or competitors disliking or even hating me for my gender journey. While my mastectomy scars are nearly invisible and I walk through life without many noticing that my past is different from most men, there is still that nervousness experienced by so many trans people in the acts of day to day life.
Will somebody call me out again in the bathroom or dressing room?
Will my students be uncomfortable to have somebody like me teaching?
How can I make my studio a comfortable place for the other trans people who train there?
Luckily, I have found pole dance to be a mostly welcoming sport so far.
My current studio, Zero Gravity Pole, has been wonderful in promoting pole as a sport for all bodies, genders, and identities. As I contemplate my journey in pole dance as a transgender man, I can't help but feel fearful for our future as well. I acknowledge my inherited privilege as a man in the world, and the privilege that I have had to be able to transition with few barriers.
Later this year I will be returning to America, where there has been an outpouring of anti-trans hate. In particular, many lawmakers are currently attempting to ban trans youth from sports, cut them off from medical care, and accuse their parents of abuse if they support their children.
As a queer, trans adult, I know firsthand the freedom that I have found simply by being allowed to be myself.
That is all that I want for anybody in our community. I know that I am just one person, but I will continue to do everything that I can to fight for the rights of people like me. Every small act counts in this uncertain future, even if it is just holding space for a new pole dancer to take their first steps in self-expression.
Wrote by Soren