Charles Benner competed in bodybuilding 20 years ago in Atlanta. This year, when he is 63 he competed as a man for the first time in the world’s only transgender bodybuilding competition.
Since the competition began in 2014, it attracted athletes from all over the country and even from Russia this year, according to Bucky Motter, the executive director and head judge.
The competition had four categories (lightweight, middleweight, heavyweight, and masters) for the age of 60 and over, and five disciplines (mass, proportion, definition, stage presence, and symmetry).
Bennett was the most experienced competitor this year and was more a coach for other competitors than a competitor. Bennett shared his pre-show rituals, offered his diet tips, and helped Peter Moore from Oakland, California, apply fake tan. Moore has scars after his breasts removed two years ago when he transitioned to male.
Most of the competitors competed for the first time. Sandy Baird from Oakland, California, for example, saw the Facebook ad and decided to try his luck, while has always been interested in bodybuilding but never had a nongender opportunity to try.
Bennett from San Francisco competed in Masters Category and confessed he was very proud to compete without a top.
Applying fake tan on him, Bennett said that he competed as a woman before, but couldn’t ever dream of participating in a transgender bodybuilding competition. Bennett’s partner of 31 years and his wife of 10 years, Erica Grace, watched him compete for the first time since his surgery at 56. And it meant the world to Bennett. Erica was really proud of him.
Wes Phills from Brooklyn, New York, the U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class, won the overall winner award and the middleweight class.