Trans woman raised on ‘boxing and bikes’ comes out to her bodybuilder dad and is overwhelmed by the support

Emma Powys Maurice December 20, 2019
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Trans woman

Elle Lawless and her father, Mike, speaking about her transition (Screenshot: Liverpool Echo)

A trans woman has spoken of the heartwarming moment when her father, a bodybuilder and a “man’s man”, gave his full support to her transition.

Elle Lawless, 19, hails from Liverpool in England. She knew she was transgender from the age of 11 and her feelings of gender dysphoria increased as she went through puberty.

When the time came to tell her family she feared what they would think, particularly her bodybuilder father, Mark, who says he raised his sons “on boxing and bikes”.

And although his initial reaction wasn’t exactly encouraging, Mark has since grown to understand his new daughter and has offered her more love and support than she ever could have hoped for.

“My dad has really shocked me, to be honest – I didn’t expect him to be this supportive because he’s a man’s man, he’s a bodybuilder and he trains every day,” Elle told the Echo.

“When I first told my dad, it wasn’t really all that positive – we talked for hours about it because he didn’t get it at first, but the more we spoke, the more he calmed down and said he just wanted me to be happy.

“It was later that night that he messaged me saying he’d be willing to help me and come with me to any appointments – he’s being so lovely.

“He even told me that one of the guys he trains with said trans people have bigger balls than all of them.”

Elle’s grandparents had already guessed that she was trans, but it took her dad completely by surprise.

“It was a massive shock, I didn’t see it coming – when she was [deadname], she was never overly feminine and for me, there were no signs,” he said.

“Now it’s being embraced, it’s like a huge weight has been lifted off her shoulders and that’s what you want to see from your kids. It’s the happiest I’ve ever seen her.”

He’s saddened by the fact that Elle felt she couldn’t approach him but acknowledges that it took “a lot of guts” to do so in light of the typically masculine way he raised her and her brother.

“But I’ll support her, I always will and will always love her, she’s my child. I’d never turn my back on any of my kids,” he added.

“I’ll be there – I might find it hard but I’ll be there holding her hand and I told her, even if I didn’t agree with it, it’s your life so I’m going to be there.

“I still make mistakes and call her ‘lad’, but I’ll get out of it, it’s a habit I’ve done for 20 years but she’s very understanding about it. As long as she’s happy, that’s all I can ask for.”

Elle is currently fundraising for her gender confirmation surgery – click here to donate.

Related topics: coming out, gender confirmation surgery, Liverpool, transition

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