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the real me

World champion powerlifter reveals she identifies as transgender

A video earlier this year outed the former powerlifting and US marine but now Janae is just happy she can finally be herself.

JANAE MARIE KROC is a world champion and world record holding powerlifter. She was a US marine and was selected for presidential security duty serving under Bill Clinton.

She is also formerly known as Matt ‘Kroc’ Kroczaleski. The 42 year old has recently confirmed that she identifies as transgender, after a video outing her started to go viral online.

Though the video exposed her to the wider public, Kroc had actually been very open with her family and close friends for over a decade. She first introduced her now teenage sons to Janae when they were 2, 4 and 7 but only seriously began to consider transitioning after she split with the boys’ mother at 32.

“I hated it”

Speaking with fellow powerlifters in a recent podcast for, Kroc said that from a very young age, as a little boy, she was daydreaming about being a girl.

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I didn’t know why I had these feelings and I hated it. I felt very ashamed and guilty and even then I knew it wasn’t something that would be received well if I shared that with people.

She was naturally competitive and athletic and was attracted to women and was for all intents and purposes a “manly” guy.

But underneath all of that she was constantly thinking about being a woman.

“I couldn’t walk through a department store without being drawn to the makeup and the shoes and the women’s dresses,” she said.


The first person she ever spoke to about it was a girlfriend when she was 23 and she was always open with partners about being transgender. Though she was honest about it with those closest to her, she tried to bury it for years and worked hard at keeping up the tough “manly” appearance she had created as Matt.

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Serving in the marines she “overcompensated” and in powerlifting, says she had the reputation of being “the craziest, most intense nut out there”.

I never wanted any of this, that’s the thing I don’t think anyone understands. I fought this as hard as I could. This was never a choice. It’s either this or be miserable forever. At one point it drove me to consider suicide and fortunately I’m  a strong person and I would never do that.

Though she says she always loved powerlifting and it helped her become mentally as well as physically strong throughout her life, her need to be open about who she really was and to start her transition eventually became a distraction in her career.

The plan was always to wait until her boys had finished high school and while she had been open in the powerlifting community whenever rumours were floating around, she had never gone officially public with it. That was until a video emerged recently which displayed the pictures she had been sharing as Janae on Instagram, side-by-side with photos of Matt.

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Now she is using the opportunity to speak out in the hope that it may help other people struggling with their gender identity.

“Transgender people are horribly discriminated against. They’re attacked, beaten, murdered – simply for existing”.

Kroc herself had experience of this as she was dropped by fitness company Muscletech which had been sponsoring her as soon as they found out about her identifying as transgender.

She said she thought the decision was “quite shocking” but that she understands it was a business decision on their end.

As she moves forward, the next step for Kroc will be transition surgery, something she is excited about, though dropping weight and leaving behind that manly exterior that protected her for so long has left her feeling vulnerable.

She said her size and strength was “a safety blanket” for her all those years.

“It’s going to be a huge challenge but it will solve the biggest problem I’ve been dealing with my whole life.”

Read: You can’t be a godparent if you’re transsexual, says Vatican>

Read: Website pulls Caitlyn Jenner Halloween costume amid complaints>

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