Trailblazing trans fighter Alana McLaughlin has responded to “transphobes” leaving her “nasty messages” after her MMA debut win.
McLaughlin won her MMA debut against France’s Céline Provost on Friday (10 September) night. Provost landed multiple punches in the first round before McLaughlin secured her win after using a rear-naked choke in the second round of the epic match, ESPN reported.
As she was declared the victor of the match, McLaughlin wore a shirt emblazoned with the phrase “End Trans Genocide” in the colours of the trans flag.
McLaughlin posted a picture of herself on Instagram proudly wearing the bruises from her hard-fought victory before opening up about the transphobic hate she’s received since her match against Provost.
“I’m getting a lot of variations of the same nasty messages calling me a cheater like I didn’t just get beat on for a round and a half,” McLaughlin wrote on Instagram.
“Y’all need to show [Céline Provost] some respect and take your concern trolling elsewhere.”
She explained that Provost “almost finished me more than once” and that the other fighter “definitely won that first round” on the scorecards. McLaughlin then declared this would be the “only post” she would make addressing transphobic comments about the match.
“Transphobes are just making my block hand stronger,” McLaughlin added.
In a pre-fight interview with the Guardian, Provost said she was unconcerned about her upcoming fight against McLaughlin. She also spoke out in support of her match rival, saying trans-inclusion is a positive thing for the MMA.
“We need to show that MMA is an inclusive sport,” she declared.
Also speaking to the Guardian, Alana McLaughlin recalled growing up queer while facing vitriolic hate from her fanatically religious family.
The South Carolina native recalled a horrific phone call she had with her mother while in her dorm room at Winthrop University in 2003. She told the Guardian the conversation came after over a decade of McLaughlin attending every conversion programme that her parents requested.
“Maybe I should just go get myself killed at war,” McLaughlin said.
“Maybe you should,” her mother answered, according to the fighter.
McLaughlin said she never spoke to her mother again after that phone call and eventually joined the military in 2003. She became a special forces medical sergeant which included a tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2007.
She told OutSports that she eventually decided to leave the military and started her transition.
McLaughlin said she feared she “would be dead” if she didn’t transition. She recalled how her transition was an “uphill battle” for her, likening it to her military training.
McLaughlin shared she started training as a fighter after years of watching MMA. She completed all the medical requirements – including hormone-level testing – before her match against Provost.
She told OutSports she hoped to be a pioneer for more trans athletes in combat sports, saying she wanted trans-inclusion in sports to be more “normalised”.
“If we want to see more trans athletes, if we want to see more opportunities for trans kids, we’re going to have to work our way into those spaces and make it happen,” she said. “It’s time for trans folks to be in sports and be more normalised.”
Alana McLaughlin now joins a host of trans trailblazers in sports.
In 2018, Patricio Manuel made boxing history when he became the first trans man to compete in a pro-boxing match in the US – and he also won the fight. Manuel also became the face of iconic sporting brand Everlast in 2019.
This year also included several historic moments for trans-inclusion in sports. New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard went down in the history books as the first openly trans athlete to compete at the Olympics.
Canadian footballer Quinn became the first openly trans Olympic medal winner in August after their team’s victory in the semifinal round against the US national team.
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