“Stop climbing on the furniture” by Adam Annear
Updated: Oct 18, 2019
Adam Annear, trans guy, former competitive gymnast, boxing and yoga enthusiast, takes us on his journey from an 18 month old climbing on the furniture to an adult immersed in fitness.
Sport has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. It started at 18 months old when my Mum took me to the gymnastics club down the road to stop me climbing on the furniture. I did my first competition aged 7 and can still remember bits of my routine and the music I used. It would be an understatement to say gymnastics became my life. I trained nearly every day and spent more time with my coaches than my parents. I trained competitively until I was 15. That gym club was home for me, it held my blood,sweat and tears. I loved the strength it gave me. I loved having a go on the men’s apparatus, proving I was just a strong as they were. My coach said she wished we could disguise me so I could compete in the boys competitions, I wished it too!
At 18 I went to Uni; walking around the Fresher’s Fair I spoke to their Cheerleading Team. I found out that they don’t “yell things”, don’t use pom poms, and plot twist...don’t actually cheer for any of the sports teams. It was purely a mixture of gymnastics, stunts, jumps and dance so I thought I’d give it a go. I’d never been on such a big girls only team before and it was quite intimidating. I’d never been girly and feared I wouldn’t fit in. But as I got to know them, they were so far from the stereotypical Cheerleaders you expect from TV. It quickly became the best part of Uni for me. I was a “base” (one of the people who throws the flyer..and catches them..99.9% of the time) I bruise like a peach and was forever covered in bruises from catching our flyer in various precarious positions, but it was so worth it. I remember walking into our first big competition and it felt like a scene from the movie “Bring it on”. It was so surreal, but amazing, and even more amazing when we won!
2nd year of Uni my confusion and difficulties with my gender identity got more intense. It started to consume me so much that I started failing classes and then didn’t even love cheer anymore. I ended up making the decision to leave uni and begin my transition. When I moved home I went back to my old gymnastics club, changed my name, and started coaching. I was lucky to have a lot of support from my fellow coaches and was fortunate to not have any really negative responses from the kids or their parents. I was really worried considering lots of them knew me from years training there. Also in Cornwall, being trans wasn’t something many people were educated about. I coached for a while but it didn’t work out. I wasn’t confident enough in who I was then, and was too quiet due to not wanting people to hear my feminine voice, obviously being vocal and good communication is key in coaching, so I ended up leaving.
For a few years through my transition, with multiple surgeries going on I didn’t train much in anything. I tried going to a gym but always felt too self conscious and too scared to use any of the weights with all the huge muscly guys around. Fast forward a few years once I was all healed from surgeries I went back to gymnastics and started yoga. Aged 25 I competed again, this time as a guy, and on all 6 pieces of the men’s apparatus. I actually won, which was incredible. Shortly after that I moved to Brighton. I ended up stumbling across Trans Can Sport through a friend’s Facebook and saw they were going to be doing a Circus skills session including trapeze and aerial silks. I signed up and had a brilliant time. I then found out about all
the other activities they had lined up and ended up participating in Kayaking, Beach Volleyball, Running, Yoga and Boxing sessions.
I was hesitant going to the Boxing as I’d never even put boxing gloves on before. The session was run by Marquita, one of the Trans Can Sport instructors. Pretty much the whole group were complete beginners so I felt better. Marquita eased us in with technique and how to hold the pads properly. Everyone had a brilliant time, learnt a lot and improved our general fitness. I never expected to enjoy it as much as I did, it made me feel more confident in myself, and also as a trans person, feeling like I would be in a better position to defend myself if I were ever attacked was a huge thing for me. I went along to the other 5 sessions and was gutted when it finished. I would never have had the courage to sign up to these kinds of classes but knowing it would be with other trans people and run by either a trans person or educated and supportive ally made it so much less daunting.
Since then I found a place called The Box which specialises in Boxing fitness and Yoga (perfect combo for me!). The trainers are all amazing and I love it there, I am now going to 6 sessions a week and look forward to each one. It’s made me feel so much better about my body and myself seeing and feeling the changes in my fitness and it’s a great escape I can just get immersed in and not think about anything else. Obviously I couldn’t leave the upside down part of my life out, so I’ve now got some hand balance canes I practice different balances on and still spend a lot of time doing handstands. I can’t thank Trans Can Sport enough for getting me back into fitness, we’re super lucky to have them. If you’re thinking of getting involved but are too nervous, trust me, you’ll definitely enjoy it when you get there and there’s so many different activities to choose from!
Follow Adam on Instagram: @accio.aj