“I’m the first professional male boxer who is transgender. I may be the first but I’m not the last,” says Patricio Manuel in the new powerful ad campaign for iconic sporting brand Everlast.
Manuel, 34, has been honoured as one of the “new crop of trailblazers” for the historic brand, who previously featured other professional boxing legends Sugar Ray Robinson, Jack Dempsey, and Canelo Álvarez as its face.
Everlast’s latest campaign, ‘Be First’, also includes an amputee fighter and an immigrant family of amateur boxers from Mexico.
Manuel took part in a video where he discussed his journey from being a female boxer up until 2012, where a shoulder injury prompted him to take a break, and during this time, he decided to transition.
“It was boxing that brought me back into my body and it was boxing that allowed me to proud of actually what I was physically able to do”.
“But boxing also taught me to be really introspective and be like, ‘What do I really want? And how am I going to have to work for it?’ Because unfortunately, when you deviate from the norms that society has constructed, you have to fight for that identity. You have to really make it yourself”.
Manuel made his professional debut, and history, in December 2018, defeating Mexican super-featherweight Hugo Aguilar. He goes on to express the importance of staying true to oneself.
“I want to live in a world where being yourself isn’t seen as this courageous act. I want all of us to be who we are and to be unafraid and not to have to deal with every obstacle just to be our true authentic self.
“So many of us are being forced into these restrictive boxes of identification but very few of us actually fit, and I want to see all of us be celebrated when we fight against those specific restrictive norms”.