Trans Fitness Fanatic Breaks Bodybuilding Barriers

THOMAS MURRELL: I hate when people tell me I can’t do something. Tell me that I can’t
and I’ll do it whatever it takes to prove you wrong. COMM: Personal trainer Tommy Murrell hopes his career in bodybuilding can inspire a new
generation of trans men and women. THOMAS MURRELL: I’m real like, like hardcore gym rat. I’m in the gym 7 days a week. I
don’t think that people should make a deal whether I’m trans or not. You know, at the
end of the day, I look male, so what’s the problem? COMM: Born Tamara Murrell,
Tommy began transitioning in 2011 after battling with his appearance for years. THOMAS MURRELL: I lived my life as a female for as long as I could. I was becoming more
and more and more miserable every day. So, do I try to live by this standard, this box
that people want me in? COMM: Raised in a deeply religious household, Tommy was worried about how his parents would
react when he told them he was trans. THOMAS MURRELL: My dad is a pastor so I’m a pastor’s kid, and my mom also helps in
the ministry of my dad, telling them I was not just gay, but I was trans was like I knew
I was dropping a bombshell on them, and my dad was like, “Oh, you know, I’ve known
since you were four years old.” You know, and like he’d seen all the signs and stuff
like that, but, you know, he was in denial. My mom would, she started crying and that
truly broke my heart. My parents did a couple of things that I thought were really cool.
They write books on how to reconcile their spiritual relationship with their higher power,
so we get along great. JAIME MURRELL: At the beginning, I thought it was just a phase, but then he came out
saying that he was transgender. I think that takes a lot of strength. I admire my son. COMM: In addition to his bodybuilding commitments, Tommy has found new motivation in the form of Ava, his girlfriend. Like Tommy, Ava is also trans. THOMAS MURRELL: Me and Ava do have like that spark which was what I went for. She is awesome. AVA TORO: How does it feel to have a bodybuilder boyfriend? When he’s undressed, it’s great. He is making me communicate better and open
up more, because I’ve been very shut down. I don’t open up about my feelings and he
is trying to pry it out of me. COMM: Tommy first began his bodybuilding career competing in trans competitions with great
success. But last year, he stepped up his game and entered into the toughest competition
yet – the NPC Fort Lauderdale Men’s Cup. THOMAS MURRELL: Winning the NPC Fort Lauderdale the third place. My proudest moment as a
bodybuilder was being in that arena with a bunch of like dudes and getting over my fear.
I mean winning the FTM overall competition was nice, but being at a disadvantage and
winning was me like, that was more heartfelt. I had a big burger after that. JAIME MURRELL: It’s not easy to be honest in this world, right? That’s one of the
things that I admire most about him is the honesty of wanting to not live a lie. THOMAS MURRELL: My motivation is my family for one, definitely want to make my mom, my
dad and my little brother and people around me, my family, my friends, want to make them proud.

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