For Delhi based lawyer Aryan Pasha, bodybuilding came as a source to fight against society stereotypes and also make a powerful statement. The 27-year-old succeeded in doing so by winning the second place in the Muscle Mania contest on December 1, 2018. Apart from earning the second spot, he also became the first transman from India to do so.
The path to glory has not been that easy for the transman as he had to battle the society right from his childhood. According to the story in The Better India, Aryan, at the age of six, decided to confront his father and stop wearing a girl’s uniform to school. He even decided to change schools, in order to make a fresh start in his already struggling life without revealing his gender identity to anyone. He finally decided to reveal his identity to his parents at the age of 16, and initiated the transition at 18.
A fitness enthusiast, Aryan was a national-level skating champion too. It was after he turned 19 that he decided to undergo sex reassignment surgery for a transition to male. He first decided to try bodybuilding after watching a Facebook post about a bodybuilding competition for transmen in the USA. After three years of rigorous training, he applied for the competition but couldn’t get a visa for the competition.
Speaking to The Better India, Aryan said, “The rejection somehow made me stronger and more focused to get over my inhibitions and compete at national competitions. So that very day, I began to write letters to all the national bodybuilding associations and federations, and eventually received a positive response.”
His efforts of writing letters to bodybuilding associations were finally rewarded, when the officials of the Indian Body Builders Federation (IBBF) encouraged him to participate in competitions with an assurance that his gender identity would not be an issue. He eventually participated in the Men’s Physique (Short) category in Delhi and created history.
Aryan also managed to make the right noise in the international corridors of bodybuilding and hopes that people of his community also get the recognition. “I hope to see more people adopt the sport as now, fortunately, the International Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (IBFF) is going to recognize transgenders in the competition,” he added.
After all these years of battle, Aryan dreams of making it big in his career and pave the way for more people from his community to join in.