Two POWERHOUSES in the weightlifting community are offering their support to Janae Marie -- the bodybuilding champ who revealed she's transgender ... TMZ Sports has learned.
As we previously reported, Janae -- formerly Matt "Kroc" Kroczaleski -- said she's concerned about competing in the future because she's worried about a possible backlash.
But we spoke with bodybuilding legend Shawn Ray -- a 12-TIME Mr. Olympia finalist -- who tells us he's got Janae's back ... and he's not the only one.
"This is a good place for him," Ray said ... "We're a melting pot of people. You cannot go out and discriminate against people."
Ray adds, "He may never be totally accepted with lipstick and a wig at bodybuilding competition. But, honestly, I don't think he's going to have a hard time fitting in with most people if he's jacked."
We also spoke with Brian Shaw -- the 3-time (and reigning) World's Strongest Man -- who says he doesn't completely "understand the issue" but adds, "I'm not in a position to judge. I can't pass judgment, I'm not perfect."
Shaw adds, "[Janae] is a fairly well-known athlete. So to have success in the arena and then come out and be honest, I respect that."