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HomeSportNon-binary women’s footballer who is first openly trans athlete at Olympic Games says they feel ‘proud’ but ‘aware of realities’

Non-binary women’s footballer who is first openly trans athlete at Olympic Games says they feel ‘proud’ but ‘aware of realities’

Non-binary women’s footballer who is first openly trans athlete at Olympic Games says they feel ‘proud’ but ‘aware of realities’

A non-binary footballer who uses them and they pronouns has spoken of their feelings after helping Canada to a strong position in their group at the Tokyo Olympics, warning that the “fight” for trans rights “isn’t close to over”.

Hugely experienced international Quinn came out as transgender in a move they described as “hard and kind of bullsh*t” last September, going on to become the first openly transgender athlete to compete in the Games as Canada drew 1-1 with hosts Japan and beat Chile 2-1.

The 25-year-old, who is said to have been born Rebecca but is now known simply as Quinn, said they were “optimistic” for change and wanted change in legislature, “rules, structures and mindsets”.

“I feel proud seeing ‘Quinn’ on the lineup and on my accreditation,” said the versatile star for National Women’s Soccer League OL Reign in the US.

“I feel sad knowing there were Olympians before me unable to live their truth because of the world.

“Mostly, I feel aware of the realities. Trans girls being banned from sports. Trans women facing discrimination and bias while trying to pursue their Olympic dreams. The fight isn’t close to over… and I’ll celebrate when we’re all here.”

Issues around transgender participants in sport have been a feature of the build-up to the Games, with persistent debate and attempts to pass laws in the US about the rights of trans athletes to take part in female sports.

Transitioned weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, who is expected to compete at super-heavyweight in the Games, has been the most high-profile athlete to earn headlines, with some believing that the New Zealander should not be allowed to take part and others celebrating her inclusion. 

“I know, for me, it’s something I’ll be doing over again for the rest of my life,” Quinn said when they made their initial announcement.

“I want to be visible to queer folks who don’t see people like them… I know it saved my life years ago.

“I want to challenge cis[gender] folks to be better allies. It’s a process and I know it won’t be perfect, but if I can encourage you to start then it’s something.”

Among Quinn’s suggestions for her audience, the former Paris and Washington Spirit player voiced their desire to see people add their pronouns to their social media profile, vote and “practice using gender neutral pronouns with friends or in a mirror.”

They also urged people to “start to catch yourself making assumptions about people in public, bathrooms or any space.”

Canada are three points and two goals better off than third-placed Japan ahead of their match against Team GB on Tuesday, when victory would guarantee finishing top of Group A.

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