Patricio Manuel is the first out trans male boxer ever to compete professionally. Now, he’s making history again as the new face of the iconic boxing brand Everlast.
Everlast’s “Be First” campaign “challenges people to carve their own paths, and dictate the pace of their life, goals, and personal journey,” according to a statement from the brand.
Manuel’s story is a prime example of carving one’s own path. He began his career seven years ago in the Olympic trials, and became a national amateur female champion five times before transitioning. It hasn’t been an easy journey — Manuel faced discrimination when he came out as trans, and he lost both his coach and training facility. In December, he made headlines when he became the first trans male boxer to compete in a match — and he won, too.
“When I was a little kid, I always thought of myself as a boy,” Manuel said in a video for the campaign. “But you learn really early on that someone like me is immediately going to be told that they’re a girl. So I learned to be quiet. I learned to stifle that part of me. But the thing is anything that you push down long enough, it will have a bad reaction. And that reaction for me was that I completely disconnected from myself. I just mentally checked out so that I could continue coping through life.”
He added, “It was boxing that brought me back into my body.”
Manuel ended his statement by reminding people that he’s paving the way for others like him.
“My name is Patricio Manuel, I’m from Los Angeles California, and I am the first professional male boxer who is transgender. I may be the first, but I’m not the last.”