An automotive technician from Texas hopes to be crowned the world’s first transgender Mr. Olympia, in the world’s biggest body building competition.
Just three years after beginning hormone therapy, the 20-year-old has his sights set on the prize.
Ajay Holbrook, who was born as Ambreia Jane, began identifying as a man at 16 and threw himself into bodybuilding soon after.
He said: “I want to leave behind a legacy for all transgender individuals and compete in the biggest bodybuilding competition as the first transgender man.”
Holbrook’s goal for the contest is to win, but he would be happy just to be ranked within the Mr. Olympia contest, which was established in the sixties.
“Sometimes my goals are so big I legit overwhelm myself. I have so many plans for my life that I almost live in my head 24/7 strategizing how to get there,” he said.
“It’s exhausting but I know one day all of my hard work will be worth it.”
He began at 6st 13lbs and has bulked to an impressive 10st 9lbs in two years. He can currently bench press 136kg and squat 142kg.
He said: “I was actually physically abused by a relative at the time and I never wanted to feel that defenceless again.”
“So I began working out to be able to defend myself and not feel so helpless.”
“Looking back on it now, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself.”
He now has over 44,000 followers on Instagram and also publishes candid videos on his YouTube channel.
In a video titled ‘How did I know I was transgender?’ Holbrook explained that he began researching how to deal with “feeling like a boy in a girl’s body” when he was 13.
“I hated waking up every day and I often times felt very suicidal without really knowing why.”
“I finally decided that my happiness and success in life meant more than the judgment of others. I had to finally put myself first for once rather than trying to please those around me.”
“I took the first steps to getting on testosterone, which in Texas you are required to have at least six months of therapy with a gender specialist to be able to start Hormone Replacement Therapy.”
“I can look in the mirror for the first time in my life and love who I see staring back at me. I am more confident, I am happy and no longer miserable.”
“I look forward to waking up every day and am able to deal with life’s everyday troubles a lot more efficiently. I no longer want to die, but only want to live as much as I possibly can.”
Although he is much happier since transitioning, people close to him are still not wholly accepting of his transition.
“A lot of my family does not understand what it means to be transgender therefore do not accept me, and I just keep my distance from them,” he said.
“My mother and grandmother are really my only close family. At first, they also did not understand and weren’t exactly against it nor for it.
“Over the years they have seen me blossom and are starting to understand just how important my transition is to my success, and I am forever grateful that they were able to open their minds enough to see that.
“I wish that more people would understand that it is not as taboo as they may think. In reality, transgender people have been around since the first humans.
“In some cultures they are worshiped as being ‘two spirited’. I wish that more people would see it for what it is rather than jumping to the conclusions that we are mentally ill simply because they don’t understand.”
Mr. Olympia takes places in Las Vegas every September and Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the competitions most famous winners, gaining the title seven times.