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  • Valyn: Redefining Pole Dancing as a Trans Poler

    July 11, 2023 4 min read

    Have you ever wondered what happens when unstoppable passion collides with the power of self-discovery? Meet Valyn, a sensational trans pole dancer who has been turning heads and defying expectations with every mesmerizing spin and gravity-defying moves.

    Starting My Pole Dance Journey

    Hey there! I’m Valyn, a trans poler from Australia. It was actually my then-boyfriend who introduced me to his friend who was already deep into the world of pole dancing. It took me three attempts to gather the courage to step into my first class, but once I did, I was instantly hooked. Although the romantic relationship didn't last, the pole dancing friend I met became my rock, confidant, and one of my greatest supporters throughout my entire journey. The sheer joy of pole dancing came from the incredible things my body could do, not how it looked.

    pole dancer valyn

    After about three years of pole dancing and exploring the world of aerials, I began my gender transition. Transitioning while being a poler was an interesting experience, to say the least. Some things became easier, while others became more challenging. But overall, it made pole dancing way more fun and enjoyable because I could finally be fully present as my authentic self.

    Struggles and Achievements as a Trans Poler

    The early days of my transition were a bit tough. People were unsure about how to address me, and there was this lingering awkwardness that was harder to deal with than genuine mistakes and learning moments. And let me tell you, poling in a binder was not the most comfortable experience. But you know what made it all worth it? Getting the clearance to start poling again after my top surgery. The freedom and liberation I felt in my body were indescribable!

    With this new found freedom and liberation, finally felt comfortable enough to bring my authentic self to a larger audience. Before the chaos of the pandemic, I was all about the competitions. I had the honor of competing in Mr. Pole Dance International not just once, but three times! The first year, I was terrified I wouldn't even be allowed to compete and it wasn't until the second year that I finally mustered the courage to out myself – though my fears were totally unfounded and every year was more fun than the last.

    Then, I also had the privilege of winning the Comedy division at Pole Theater Amateur Australia in 2017, alongside an incredible doubles partner, Miss Beckie (IG: @miss_b_pole).

    pole dancer valyn

    However, post-COVID, I took a step back from competing. It just wasn't "sparking joy" anymore when I realized that I'm more of a performer than a competitor. As a result, my recent achievements have been centered around teaching and choreographing routines for others. I'm not ruling out a return to competing someday but seeing my students smash their goals is already giving me an immense sense of fulfilment. 

    Misconception and Acceptance in the Pole Community

    Along with the struggles and achievements, misconceptions within the pole community about trans polers have formed a core part of my journey  The most common I hear is the connotation that being transgender gives that individual an "edge". Let's debunk that notion, shall we?

    Being transgender is about embracing authenticity more than anything else. It's not just a "sex thing" and it doesn't grant someone magical advantage for poling (or sports in general for that matter) - anyone who's seen me try to learn someone else's choreo can attest to that!

    Trans polers face the same struggles, celebrate the same successes and are poling for the same reasons as others. Basically: we're pole dancers just like you. There's no need to treat us differently!

    While I've been fortunate in finding acceptance within the pole community, exclusion still exists for others. What we can do to promote acceptance is to listen, be proactive and shut down derogatory conversations. Our existence is not up for debate; we exist, always have, and always will. Ensure your spaces are safe for us. 

    As students, we should respect each other's identities and boundaries without expecting our LGBTQ+ peers to educate us. Studio owners, instructors, and influencers should create safe spaces, visibly support LGBTQ+ individuals, and maintain consistent policies for all - LGBTQ+ or not.

    The Power of Pole Dancing

    If not for pole dancing, I'd just be doing my day job as a softwre engineer or maybe still be doing jiu jitsu. I know that I would have had a far rougher time transitioning either way but pole gave me a community and friendships that have gotten me through my toughest times. 

    pole dancers valyn and immy

    So whoever you are or wherever you may be, don’t be afraid to try things out. Embrace the adventure and let your authentic self shine through. The journey definitely won't be easy but it will be so worth it. Trust me, you might just end up surprising yourself in the best possible way. 

    More Pole Dancing Tips

    Need the extra push to start your pole dancing journey? Check out these 10 Benefits of Pole Dancing. If you’re new to it or still eager to learn more about pole dancing, here are great blogs to read, Pole Dancing for Beginners: A Must-Read to Get Started and 10 Ways to Get Better at Pole Dancing.