My name is Dillon King, I’m a trans guy born and raised in Metairie, Louisiana, which is about 10 minutes outside of New Orleans. I started my transition a little over two years ago and I can without question say it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. Not only for me but for my then fiance (now my wife) and also for my surrounding LGBTQ community who’s raised me. I recently opened my own gym, Flambeaux CrossFit and I couldn’t be more excited to express why it means so much to me. Its a safe place for fitness and community, for us (and our allies) by us.
I guess, like others, my obsession with fitness began with dysphoria, though it would take YEARS for my to figure out that that’s where it stemmed from. I was 17 in high school and hitting the weights hard, seeing my male classmates around me square out my envy began to grow uncontrollably. Id ask some who I was friends with “how?’ and their response “gym weights, gym weights”. So I did, obsessively.
Home life was hard, parents on the rocks, me getting kicked out every other month. So I was part of the early release work program my school had. My schedule was 7-11 school, 1-9 work and then I’d go to the gym and pound the weights till 11 or midnight hoping to pump myself into body confidence with every rep. As you probably have guessed, that didn’t work. I’d step in front of the mirror and see “fat”. Now looking back I can clearly see I wasn’t in the right state of mind, I see a picture from then and Im a not “ripped” but I was skinny pretty young girl who weighed 125lbs. Sometimes looking back makes me sad that I could never truly give that girl in the mirror any credit.
Through out the years I ran some half marathons until it was giving me more knee issues than health benefits, I trained with body builders until the diet consumed my quality of life and then I dared myself to try CrossFit. I’d been hearing about the fad for about two years but was too intimidated to try it. One day I came across an ad for a new one that had just opened and I figured the one advertised may be less intimidating to try, and it was. After my first class I was stuck! It was lifting weights at a decent pace, getting my heart rate up so that meant no more boring elliptical workouts. I got the muscle pump I had yearned to feel! The members and coaches knew my name on day one which is all part of the CrossFit community.
The next 2+ years I spent as an avid CrossFitter AND to top it off through this time I accepted myself as transgender and had begun my transition. I saw the hormones take a part in my muscle growth and my stamina and it pushed me even harder. I was meeting strength goals and next thing you know, look at me building confidence! I began seeing how much the cocktail of my transition plus CrossFit was a winning combination. I could practically feel myself climbing out of depression, negative self talk and insecurity. I started waking up with a new attitude of “I can!” On the days I’d go to the gym and set a goal, even if I didn’t hit the goal that day I noticed myself saying “I’ll get it soon!” Instead of beating myself up. My fiancé even started making comments about how amazing it was to see me beginning to truly love myself.
A lightbulb went off. I wanted to give this gift of confidence, community and sense of belonging to everyone who needed it! Specifically my “T brothers” but honestly anyone. In the midst of this it was almost a sign, I believe in the universe giving us signs along our path. But, a major gym had a locker room issue where a trans person was outted by another member for being in the “wrong” one when really it was the locker room that person identified as. And there it was my sign to take the knowledge and drive I had to build a safe place for us to better ourselves and belong! I got my CF-L1 and I started training one on one clients out of another guys CrossFit gym. Though he let me train who and when ever I wanted he made it clear there was to be no promoting that I was an advocate for LGBTQ at his gym. He wanted his brand to remain “neutral”. Well I’m not neutral and I was on a mission so that told me that situation was temporary.
Flash forward another year and a half and here I am guys! Owner and head coach of Flambeaux CrossFit in Metairie, Louisiana. I proudly have an American flag, Louisiana flag and a rainbow flag hanging high. Me and my wife run it with open arms to anyone! We are building an amazing community in here mixed with allies, trans men, gay men, lesbian women, gender fluid individuals. Its amazing everyone comes in, we laugh a lot and sweat even more! We high five each other and cheer for everyone, ESPECIALLY the last one finished! Everyone has achieved a physical task in this gym they once thought “never in a million years”. Its the best feeling in the world to be able to lend my hand out in my community this way. So, if you’re ever in the neighborhood come say hi.