“For as far back as I can remember, I’ve had two desires: to be strong and to be a woman.”
The trailer for a documentary about Janae “Kroc” Kroczaleski just hit the internet, and it promises an in-depth look at a unique and fascinating figure in the sport of powerlifting. Born Matt Kroczaleski, Kroczaleski began competing in powerlifting as a teenager and to this day holds the UPA world record total in the 220-pound class with 2,551 pounds.
In her own words, she was the “ultimate alpha male” and the “manliest of the manly men,” which made it a surprise for some the powerlifting world when he publicly came out as a transgender woman in 2015, a few months after legally changing her name to Janae Marie Kroczaleski. According to her Instagram account, she identifies as “transgender/genderfluid/non binary,” with some of her posts using the term “genderless.”
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A little #throwbackthursday today. The pics on the left are from 2010 and 2012 and the ones on the right were taken within the last couple of weeks. The top-left pic was from a photoshoot for MuscleTech at the legendary Metroflex Gym in Arlington Texas two weeks before the NPC Michigan state championships where I would win the heavyweight division and qualify for the NPC Nationals. I had a great training session that day with Johnnie Jackson and Branch Warren. The bottom left pic was taken in the summer of 2012 and would later end up as the cover for #powermagazine. I often get asked if coming out was worth it. If it was worth giving up my powerlifting and bodybuilding careers, losing my contract with muscletech, having friends and family as well as strangers treat me so differently, and just having to face all the scrutiny I've faced since then. I won't lie it hasn't been easy and there are days where it frustrates me to be sure. Those times when I run into someone who in the past would have been asking for a picture or an autograph but now they look at me like I'm less than human. There are days when it gets to you. But no matter how rough it may be at times deep down I know I'm doing the right thing. I don't think honesty can ever be the wrong choice, especially when it involves being true to oneself. Even though I was fortunate to achieve a lot of my goals and experience a lot of really cool things I was constantly burdened by the fact that I was always hiding so much of who I am and making the decision to stop doing that is something I know I'll never regret. Hopefully the day will come soon when people won't have to choose between being true to themselves and potentially losing valuable opportunities. Even with some of the hurdles our society is currently facing I still think we're moving in the right direction and I think there's a lot of hope for our future generations. But most importantly we just have to remember that it's up to us to make sure we do our part to ensure progress continues and we make this a world where no one is ever afraid to be themselves. #transgender #genderfluid #nonbinary #gendernonconforming #genderqueer
In the trailer, Kroczaleski describes a feeling of being pulled between two worlds: “I don’t think I’m comfortable as an extremely muscular woman, but as a guy that’s the only way I’m comfortable.” The films tagline describes it as as Kroc facing “his most challenging feat of strength yet: becoming a woman.”
In an Instagram post this morning, Kroczaleski revealed that the documentary was filmed over the past two years and includes footage from when she was outed in 2015.
You’ll see the reactions of my friends and family including those of my parents (which aren’t the most supportive) and my three sons (which are very understanding).
You’ll see me as I struggle to balance my passion for strength training with my femininity and follow me to South Korea and California as i undergo vocal feminization surgery and facial feminization surgery.
“Transformer” is directed by Michael del Monte and will screen at the Austin Film Festival on October 28.
Featured image via M FILMS on YouTube.