Starting at a very young age (six-years-old), APEMAN Marcus Williams always felt different. 

“I just always felt like something was wrong with me,” Marcus said. “Eventually the feeling just became normal. Around middle school I was really struggling with my mental health, bi-polar and depression, thoughts of suicide were definitely in control of my life. I couldn’t focus at school; I was constantly angry, hitting things, sad all of the time, and during middle school I even started cutting myself.”

The constant bullying certainly didn’t help. 

“I was bullied because I was bi-racial,” said Marcus. “I was never black or white enough. Bullied for the size and shape of my body. I came out as a lesbian in middle school, too, as if everything else wasn’t enough, and bullying came along with that as well.”

When high school arrived, Marcus was still struggling to find an identity as his mental health worsened. 

“I came to terms with being a lesbian probably my sophomore year,” said Marcus. “I even made some friends. It was getting better, I thought. That is until I would have to go in the girls locker room and change. Then it came rushing in, the overwhelming anxiety, the depression. I just hated my body, I absolutely hated it. I would have rather failed gym than go in that locker room, which I nearly did. I just didn’t understand. The rest of my time in high school was pretty much the same. I hated it. As time went on, I got angrier and angrier, but why?”

After graduating, Marcus got more involved in the LGBT community – met new people and made friends, people that were just like him: transgender.

“What I didn’t know, is that there in fact, is nothing wrong with me,” Marcus said. “I met some people that were also transgender, and I learned that things will get better. At this point I was at my heaviest weight, around 215 and I’m 5’1. A few years of bad habits and self-destruction later, I got out of the bar scene where I had been working and got back to my passion of working with special needs children.”

From there, life started looking up. He got out of the gym and out of his head, started seeing a doctor and got back on medicine. Marcus figured out that what was “wrong with him” was nothing. 

“In 2017 I made the choice to start over,” he said. “To stop drinking so much and no more saying ‘I can’t.’ In less than a year I lost 70 pounds. I made the choice to start testosterone that year also and began transitioning into the body I always needed. The weight loss and the right meds and testosterone were the perfect jumpstart to get me on the right track. I joined a new gym even though I was terrified because I didn’t want anyone to know I was Trans, so I would avoid the locker room.”

The thought of someone knowing that he had to wear a binder every day was almost enough to make Marcus turn around and just go home. It felt like school all over again. But this time instead of running away, he ran towards it – the fear and doubt. 

“I kept losing weight and getting stronger,” he said. “I found a new passion. I wanted to help those who felt just as I had most of my life. I enrolled in The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) to become a personal fitness trainer.”

Marcus’ fuel are his past struggles. He doesn’t want to be in that space again. Rather, he doesn’t want anyone to be in that space or feel as alone as he did. Now his dream is to coach and train people; to help them love their bodies and accept themselves. Teach them how to eat right and exercise. 

APEMAN has been instrumental in his journey. He stumbled upon APEMAN a while ago and has been hooked ever since. In fact, he says that virtually all of the sayings hits home for him and represents the majority of struggles he’s faced.

“I want people to be proud of their bodies,” Marcus said. “I keep going because I have to; we have to. My goal is for others to realize that they have the potential to achieve their dreams. Helping others has always been my passion, but I had to really learn to love myself and get rid of the negativity. I know my journey is far from over, but I want to encourage others to join me. If you are ever feeling alone, I am right here. 

“You are not alone.”