Alana McLaughlin’s journey from US special forces to trans MMA fighter

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Loretta Hunt

Guest
The South Carolina native says she has spent her whole life physically resisting violence. So mixed martial arts holds few fears as she prepares for her debut

A mother’s love should be unconditional. Alana McLaughlin learned that isn’t always the case when she was sitting in her dorm room at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina in 2003. The 20-year-old had done everything her parents wanted, faithfully attending every conversion program they’d asked her to for over a decade. She couldn’t sit through one more.

McLaughlin’s mother wouldn’t even say the word “transition”, although gender reassignment was something Alana had asked for from a young age. It had never been an option, no matter how many times she asked for it and no matter how many conversion schools she attended. Over the phone, there was silence. Mother and child were now at an impasse.

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