On Jiu-jitsu Times A Reader Question: Is a students Gender Or Sexual Orientation Important In Bjj?

“So I have written to you before and you answer was of great help.
My question now is one that maybe harder for your writer’s to respond to as fast as you did last time because it may require research.
So my question is this. I am gender queer, I myself prefer to not be referred to by any gender pronouns.

I go not by my legal name except for when I have to register for a competition and at this time I also have to register as female my biological gender, but again I don’t identify with the female or male pronouns.
I don’t go by it, that’s highly offensive, I go by my very self descriptive nickname R&%$#@*&.

But back to my major point in my question. In the big picture of jiu-jitsu I can imagine I am not the only one who is gender queer, unidentifying by either gender and come registration time having the obligation to check the box for female.
I understand that males and females having separate divisions for muscular make up, men have high testosterone levels, females can be more aggressive.

But do you know of any higher belts in the same situation as I find myself in?
The kinds of situations I have grown to deal with being referred to as ,she or her or the girls by my coaches.
But can you possibly find out if any higher belts have this same struggle?… your opinion and feedback I would greatly value as well as the comments posted by other however harsh some maybe.”

Jiu-jitsu Times: This is a very different reader question than our typical “Am I ready for blue belt?” but I’ll give it a try!

Your situation is uncommon – but not unique in the sporting world.
Male to female TG MMA fighter Fallon Fox generated a lot of controversy when she fought against females in mixed martial arts.
Selecting your gender might for a competition might require you to check a box male / female – although people don’t fit neatly into boxes.

Feel some comfort in the fact that other athletes have gone before you and blazed a trail.

I recall there was a member of the bjj community from Toronto, Canada named Alaina Hardie who is transgender.
article: Transsexual BJJ Brown Belt Alaina Hardie:” The Reality Is That Trans Athletes Are Everywhere.”

This bjj competitor might be a good resource for you even though your specific situations differ.
I am sure she would welcome a message from you.

The topics of sexual orientation and gender are controversial in the world of sports and that is not likely to go away any time soon.

The culture is becoming more open and accepting to people of different lifestyles as high profile media figures like Olympic Decathlete Bruce Jenner transformed into Kaitlyn Jenner in front of the world.
Can anyone imagine this happening in the 1950’s?!
Society has come a LONG way since then in terms of recognition of different genders and sexual orientation.

The world of combat sports is heavily dominated by young males who set the culture of the gym.
Anything in the world of bjj is filtreed through the lenses of that culture.

When the first openly gay professional MMA fighter comes out, it will be interesting to see the reaction of the MMA fight world.

In the mean time, focus on what you CAN control – keep training and becoming the best athlete you can be!

Let’s hear from any members of the bjj community that have input and opinions on this topic.

on Jiu-jitsu Times: 10 Great Motivational Jiu-jitsu Quotes


  1. Never really thought about this as a topic but perhaps that is from seeing everyone in the dojo as equals and that everyone here is trying to improve and willing to give their body to others in exchange for the same so that both people can benefit regardless of their chromosomes, gender, identity, beliefs, religions, race, politics, or opinions. Similar to the philosophy that I learned in the military is that no matter the branch we are all Green and on the mat we are all Jiu Jitsu.

    I think the part that says, “I go not by my legal name except for when I have to register for a competition and at this time I also have to register as female my biological gender, but again I don’t identify with the female or male pronouns.” may be the best way to handle registering for a tournament in the vein of being fair to the people you are competing against and finding physical commonalities and comparable grappling experience with opponents to make the match ups fair considering the question is not used for judging or any other purpose other than trying to make fair competitions. Using what is the legal definition may not make you feel that you are being 100% honest with how you identify but your heart will determine what is fair.

    Thank you for posing this question.

  2. There have been many openly gay pro fighters, Liz Carmouche for example. I am not aware of any openly gay MALE fighters, though.

  3. I’m actually a trans man who competes in jiujitsu. Part of my transition includes weekly injections of testosterone. (Enough to be at an average male’s level.) because I have a dr.’s note explaining why I take the hormones, and because all my documents (except birth certificate) say my chosen name and sex as male, I check mark the male box, and haven’t had any backlash. While I’m not officially “out”, there are people who are aware and I’ve never faced any backlash. We’ve come a long way in society, and hope to continue moving forward and more accepting. Jiujitsu is about taking care of one’s body, mind and spirit, and that includes everyone.


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