Once a soldier in the Prime Marine Corps from 1998 – 2005, Shawn Stinson is a 35 year old transgender male who is originally from Peoria, IL but resides in Atlanta, GA. He is a personal trainer and health fitness coach and, in 2014, he won the 1st annual FTM Body Building Competition.
For Shawn, being transgender means being yourself and living exactly how you feel inside and out.
His contribution to the transgender community, according to him, “grew on accident”. According to him, he “transitioned without knowing he was transitioning”. In 2008, after feeling weird and knowing something wasn’t right and still being unaware of what a transman was, he went to a surgeon who had never done FTM Top surgery before and said, “This is what I want. I have the money. Just do it.” Then in 2010, while watching a special on TV about a transgender man, he realized that he was not the only one. It was at that point, he came to understand and was able to put a name to what he was, a transgender man. Once he realized this, he began medically transitioning by starting hormone therapy.
Currently, Stinson’s number one focus is training for the 2nd Annual FTM Body Building Competition, taking place in October 2015 in Atlanta, GA. The event will be the first of its kind to take place in Atlanta. He is trying to maintain his title. Stinson also has his Free Fit Camp for anyone who lives in or is visiting the Atlanta, GA area.
When asked what he would say to his cisgender counterparts if given the opportunity, he responded, “We’re all the same. At the end of the day, everyone has something, whether you make it public or not, that people shun you for in your life. It could be that you had sex before marriage, married outside of your race… The list goes on and on and on. So be considerate of things that other people are going through. We’re no different than anybody else. We’re all the same. We’re human beings. It’s all about respect. That’s all we want at the end of the day – equality, right? To sum it up, try to put yourself in other people’s shoes. Think about struggles or whatever that you’ve gone through and compare.”