Alex Tilinca is a lot like other 18-year-olds in their freshman year of college.
Having reached the end of his first semester as a marketing major at Hofstra University, the teen is putting all his attention on his studies for upcoming final exams.
Being a good student, he’s stepped away for a short time from his favorite sport, amateur bodybuilding, where Tilinca doesn’t just compete in competitions, but he’s an award-winning transgender competitor in the sport.
Tilinca says he didn’t set out with the intention of becoming a bodybuilder. He started lifting after having top surgery two years ago and wanted to put on some weight.
“I just wanted a little more muscle,” he told Newsday. “But I really think once you get the bug, it’s very, very hard to just stop.”
“When I saw bodybuilding, I saw it as a tool of control over what you look like,” Tilinca said. “For someone being trans, that’s amazing. It’s really empowering. If you don’t like something, you know you can change it. It’s like sculpting your own body.”
Newsday spoke with two-time Mr. Olympia runner-up Sadik Hadzovic, who has coached Alex, about the empowering nature of bodybuilding.
“I can relate to what Alex went through,” Hadzovic told Newsday. “When I was 18 years old, I hated my body. Whether you are a man or woman or transgender or not, it doesn’t make a difference. We are all the same. We just want to improve ourselves and be a little bigger, a little faster, look a little better.”
Obviously, Tilinca’s progress in the eighteen months he’s been working out has yielded incredible results. In the below post on Instagram, he weighed 130 lbs. and had 5-6% body fat.
The National Physique Committee (NPC) is the largest amateur bodybuilding organization in the United States and often viewed as a stepping stone to competing at the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBF) competitions.
The IFBF hosts the annual competition that awards the Mr. Olympia title. Tilinca says his ultimate goal is to become the first trans man to win the biggest prize of all in the bodybuilding world, Mr. Olympia.
Newsday notes that the National Physique Committee doesn’t have any specific rules in regard to transgender competitors on its official website, and so Tilinca never told anyone he’s trans.
He just put his head down and worked hard on his body.
It’s important to the teen that the world see transgender people not as “victims” but as people who can “do anything they set their minds to.”
And he’s proving that one bicep curl at a time. Go, Alex!
Click here to watch Newsday’s video feature on Alex.
At The Randy Report, I talk a lot about politics and the political positions we all have.
The official policies here today are definitely “pro-Thanks” and “pro-Giving.”
I’m thankful for so many things this year – especially my hot hubby, Michael, and the 1st Amendment 🙂
That said, it’s easy for so many to enjoy this day. Whether wealthy or not, most of us have family, friends and a warm place to be today. I’m thankful that’s the case for me and my family today.
But there are many less fortunate.
Today I’m thinking of LGBTQ kids who have been turned out of their homes because their families won’t accept them for who they are, and they become homeless. And that’s just the beginning of a nightmare journey for these kids in crisis.
The mission of the Ali Forney Center in NYC is to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) youth from the harm of homelessness, and to support them in becoming safe and independent as they move from adolescence to adulthood.
The Center is committed to providing these young people with safe, dignified, nurturing environments where their needs can be met, and where they can begin to put their lives back together.
I humbly ask you to please take one minute – 60 seconds – and consider what a small donation could mean to help these young people.
If you feel so moved, click over to the Ali Forney Center website and consider this worthy organization when you think of “giving” today. No amount is too small to help.
Video footage of a high school student in Alexandria, Indiana, being attacked and beaten in the boy’s locker room was widely circulated among students and even sent to the boy’s mother.
The reason for the attack? Being gay.
Speaking to local NBC affiliate WTHR the young man said, “I’m not ok, but I will be.”
The assault took place following gym class after he’d gotten dressed
“The guy who attacked me was standing next to my locker and wouldn’t stop staring at me, so I had a weird feeling that something was about to happen,” the student told WTHR.
What ‘happened’ was the student began shoving the teen.
“He kept pushing me, but then he stopped pushing me and everything got quiet, so I thought he walked out,” said the young man.
But the attacker didn’t leave, he’d merely paused before he began punching his victim.
“I felt him punch me a couple more times and I got hit my face on the mirror and then he punched me in the head twice,” said the student.
“It happened so fast. I can remember them holding me against the wall,” he added, explaining that two other students helped restrain him so he couldn’t fight back.
The boy says he knows who his alleged attackers are and that they’d teased him before about being openly gay.
“I’ve gotten so used to it over the years that it doesn’t phase me much,” he said.
Eventually, another student stepped in and stopped the assault. When the teen’s mother took him to the hospital he was told his nose was broken.
“I just tell myself to forget what happened and try to act like it never happened,” he said.
School officials and Alexandria police both say they are investigating the incident.
The alleged victim calls what happened a hate crime and has a message for others students targeted because of their sexuality.
His parents say they’re not going to let what happened to their son get swept under a rug. They’ve been told by school officials that two of the students involved have been expelled, but WTHR was unable to confirm that.