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Trans Woman Opens Up About Her Past as Harley-Driving, Bodybuilding Member of U.S. Special Forces


This woman does not recognize the pictures of a macho weightlifter who used to be in the U.S. Army Special Forces, despite the fact that she is the person in the photos.

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Alana McLaughlin, 32, was assigned male at birth, but the Portland woman said she has always felt like she was born in the wrong body.

"I was playing a part that wasn't really me," McLaughlin said in an interview with Barcroft Media.

She came out as gay and transgender to her family, but she said her parents were not supportive.

"They would not accept me as their daughter," she said. "They would only accept me as their son. Even as their son, I was a disappointment."

She gave into the pressure, and created a new persona for herself.

"I just sort of constructed this false personality that was just a combination of action heroes that I could think of," she explained, "very much the stoic violent, male type."

From lifting weights, to growing a beard, to riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle, she said, "I did all the things you were supposed to do."

She even joined the U.S. Army Special Forces as the ultimate transformation.

"It was my only option," McLaughlin explained, "to either force myself into manhood somehow or die."

She eventually left the army and dove into female hormone treatments, but did not begin her transition until 2012, when she opted into doing surgery with the support of her friends.

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"I don't feel like I'm faking anymore," she said, joking, "my outie has been made an innie."

McLaughlin has since taken up welding as a reflection of her transition, saying it is like turning "something cold and lifeless," into "something beautiful, delicate but strong at the same time."

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