OROn Monday, when Canada beat the United States 1-0 to advance to the women’s soccer final and secure at least one silver medal, their midfielder Quinn took another step into history. On Friday, they will become the first transgender, non-binary athlete win an Olympic medal.
Quinn won bronze with Team Canada in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, but they hadn’t come out yet. In 2020, they announced they were transgender, that they use their pronouns and that they would take Quinn as their full name.
When they came out, Quinn told the Canadian media that they wanted to be “a visible figure to young trans people or people who question their gender, people who explore their gender … Unfortunately, when I was growing up and even going through that process of discovering myself. ” in college, I really didn’t have those people in the public sphere to look up to. “
Quinn played college football for Duke from 2013 to 2017 and became the highest-grossing Canadian player in NWSL history when the Washington Spirit selected them third overall in 2018. They now play for OL Reign in Seattle alongside Megan Rapinoe. , the USWNT star who has been an outspoken advocate for gender equality and trans rights, among other progressive causes. And now, on the field of the Olympics, Quinn will have the best chance yet to be the role model for the young trans men they hope to become.
In Tokyo, Quinn is one of at least three transgender and / or non-binary athletes competing. New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard, a transgender woman, competed in the 87kg weightlifting on Monday, but failed to achieve the medal. And Alana Smith, a non-binary skater, competed in the women’s street competition and finished 20th in the heat stage. (Chelsea Wolfe, a trans woman, also traveled to Tokyo with Team USA for BMX competition as a substitute.)
In the run-up to the 2020 Games, the International Olympic Committee allowed the International Weightlifting Federation to set its standards for transgender athletes, and Hubbard met all the requirements. Even so, his presence at the Games caused a setback; The New York Times reported that a Tongan official who attended Hubbard’s event suggested that the Olympics create a separate division for trans women. At the skate event, where Smith raced on a board with “they / them” written on it, the announcers still identified them using inappropriate pronouns in the air. Quinn has faced a similar problem; the media on some occasions have continued to call them by their birth names.
“I am proud to see ‘Quinn’ in the lineup and on my accreditation,” Quinn wrote on Instagram on July 22, at the start of the Games. “It saddens me to know that there were Olympians before me unable to live their truth because of the world.” They continued: “I am optimistic about the change. Change of legislature. Changes in rules, structures and mentalities. Above all, I feel aware of the realities. Trans girls are prohibited from playing sports. Trans women facing discrimination and prejudice while trying to pursue their Olympic dreams. The fight is not close to over … and I’ll celebrate when we’re all here. “
Quinn was the first of the trans and non-binary athletes to compete in Tokyo, and when they took to the field before a 1-1 draw against Japan, he found a changing world around athletes and gender identity. In July, the IOC said it plans to adopt new guidelines on transgender women competing in sports because the current set of rules is out of date.
It certainly does not reflect the growing presence of our LGBTQ + athletes at the highest level of sports. Outsports reported in July that there would be at least 180 LGBTQ + athletes competing in Tokyo; in Rio, that number was just 56.
Since Quinn came out last year, Team Canada has welcomed his transition and embraced his identity. In June, the team gifted them a jersey printed with a rainbow No. 5 (their jersey number), of which they posted a photo on Instagram. “They have embraced change and it has turned into awkward conversations,” Quinn wrote of his team, “and I love them for it.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism