IATBP – TIMELINE
Over the Years
- Neo L. Sandja created FTM Fitness; a facebook group which began with six members in a week to over two thousand within a couple of months. They were trans men from around the world interested in fitness. Along with the Facebook group, he also created FTM Fitness World: a fitness blog tailored to trans men where he was also reselling packers and binders to cover the costs of maintaining the website.
- Within a few months of launching the blog, the website received many visitors and emails from trans men around the world: Australia, Russia, South Africa, The Philippines, India, United Arab Emirates, Mexico, the UK, and Kenya just to name a few.
- The emails personally inspired him to not just focus on his physical fitness but also on emotional intelligence, spiritual awareness and other practical life skills.
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- FTM Fitness World received many emails from trans men who wanted to compete in Bodybuilding but were apprehensive of being discriminated against.t
- Neo created a poll in the FTM Fitness group asking the members how they liked the idea of creating trans bodybuilding competitions. The response was overwhelmingly positive and offered many possibilities. t
- Neo’s original vision was to create a three-day conference where trans men would gather annually to learn practical skills that will help them improve in five key areas: finances, relationships, wellness, spirituality and personal growth. On day three of their experience, they would enjoy an amazing bodybuilding competition.t
first FTM Fitness World conference
- The first FTM Fitness World conference was hosted at GA State University. The furthest attendee came from London and the youngest one was 16 years old. On the third day, the first annual trans bodybuilding show was hosted at My Sister’s Room in Atlanta GA.
- Bucky Motter was the Head Judge, and Shawn Stinson was the winner of the first officially recorded Trans bodybuilding competition in history.
- Neo met Kelly Murray, a CNN reporter through his local dancing community and Timothy Bella, an Atlanta reporter with Al Jazeera America, who found Neo while researching a story about trans athletes.t
- The decision to invite cameras backstage was always made after trusting that the athletes would be portrayed in a positive light and that the focus would remain on their truth; their stories painted from their own experience.t
- The second conference, now known as TransFitCon (or FitCon for the insiders), was hosted at the Ramada Plaza on Capitol Avenue along with the second annual bodybuilding show.t
- Shawn Stinson was once again the first place holder and was officially featured on CNN as the World’s First Trans Bodybuilding Champion.t
- Trans Bodybuilding is officially on the map.t
International Association of Trans Bodybuilders (IATB)
- While recovering from an injury, Shawn Stinson returns for a third year as an honored guest judge.
- Neo invites Janae Marie Kroc to be the powerlifting meet director of the first TransFitCon Powerlifting Competition while she was filming for her documentary Transformer.
- CNN Great Big Story features Preston Martin’s journey as a trans athlete.
- Neo self-published his first book.
- The Organization Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC), now called Immigrants Rising, launched FUSE, the Fund for Undocumented Social Entrepreneurs, an initiative to foster and provide financial support for the entrepreneurial projects of undocumented young people working to create positive social change.
- The organization received 169 proposals from 222 undocumented entrepreneurs living in 26 different states and hailing from 32 countries of origin.
- Neo proposed his new project, The International Association of Trans Bodybuilders (IATB), and was one of the five projects selected to receive a grant of $15,000 that would be disbursed over the course of a year.
- Separating the competitions from the three-day annual conference was a necessary step to keep it viable and preserve its legacy. The grant allowed IATB to be its own brand and retain its own identity as the leading authority of Trans Bodybuilding.
First official IATB competition
- The first official IATB competition was held at The Gathering Place Atlanta (TGPA).t
- After the event, Neo officially passed on the organization to Bucky Motter in order to focus on the FTM Foundation, his non-profit organization that he later used as a platform to propose an app, at the Airbnb headquarters in San Francisco, that could help alleviate Trans Youth homelessness.t
- Bucky Motter officially became the executive director of the IATB, which was now in the process of becoming a 501(c)3 (non-profit) organization.
- Shawn Stinson is the Head Judge of the 5th annual competition.
- The documentary Man Made was released after following the journey of some bodybuilding competitors starting in 2017. (IATBP is not affiliated with the production and does not receive compensation for the promotion of this film).
- The IATB’s first openly non-binary athletes competed in the 2018 competitions – one at that year’s bodybuilding show, the other in the powerlifting meet.
First Time – Trans Women Division
- IATB becomes IATBP to be more inclusive of the existing powerlifting meets competitors.t
- A trans women division is introduced for the first time.t
Virtual Conference 2020: Voices in Trans Bodybuilding and Powerlifting
- IATBP conducted a survey where respondents indicated that a safe and equitable place to compete for non-binary and gender-nonconforming athletes was desperately needed. New divisions based on gender identity and gender expression were added in both bodybuilding and powerlifting events to reflect and respect the needs and wants of the community that the IATBP serves.
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 competition and meet were temporarily replaced by the Inaugural Virtual Conference 2020: Voices in Trans Bodybuilding and Powerlifting.