Canadian Soccer Player Talks Being the First Openly Trans Athlete to Compete in Tokyo: 'I Feel Proud'
“I feel sad knowing there were Olympians before me unable to live their truth because of the world,” they wrote following their first game of the Summer Games
A Canada Women's National Soccer Team player became the first openly transgender athlete to take the competition floor at the Summer Games.
Quinn — who came out as transgender in September 2020 and uses the nonbinary pronouns they/them — reflected on the monumental moment after Wednesday's match against FC Tokyo resulted in a 1-1 draw.
"First openly trans Olympian to compete. I don't know how to feel," they wrote alongside a game day photo.
Regarding the International Olympic Committee (IOC) honoring their name, they wrote, "I feel proud seeing 'Quinn' up on the lineup and on my accreditation."
"I feel sad knowing there were Olympians before me unable to live their truth because of the world," Quinn continued.
From a political standpoint, the 2016 Olympics bronze medalist said, "I feel optimistic for change. Change in legislature. Changes in rules, structures, and mindsets."
"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," Quinn — who also plays for the OL Reign in the U.S. where a slew of bills has been proposed seeking to ban transgender athletes from school teams that align with their gender identity — wrote.
They added, "The fight isn't close to over… and I'll celebrate when we're all here."
Quinn shared a photo in June smiling as they held up their Canadian soccer jersey which had their number printed with a rainbow on the back instead of just red in accordance with their teammate's uniforms. They also held up an armband with the transgender flag.
"This team is hard to put into words! They have embraced change and turned into uncomfortable conversations and I love them for it," the athlete captioned the photo. "Taking home this armband because I never thought I'd see this day!!"
Speaking earlier this month about the hot-button conversations surrounding athletes and their gender identities, Quinn told Uninterrupted, "As a trans person playing in women's professional sports, my teammates are worried about how they're getting to their second jobs. They're not worrying about trans participation on their teams."
Last week Outsports released a report stating that there is a record-breaking number of openly LGBTQ athletes competing at this year's Summer Games. The initial report stated a total of 121 openly queer athletes and it has since jumped to 163 as of Thursday.
The number is a significant jump from their 2016 Rio Games tally of 56 and the 2012 London Olympics total of 23.
Among those on the list is Australian weightlifter Laurel Hubbard. She was the first openly transgender athlete who was cleared to compete in the Summer Games on a team that matches her gender identity.
The IOC upheld their rules regarding transgender athletes for Hubbard, 43, while committing to reevaluate the policy in the future, according to Reuters.
Said IOC President Thomas Bach during a news conference: "The rules for qualification have been established by the International Weightlifting Federation before the qualifications started. These rules apply, and you cannot change rules during ongoing competitions."
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Although Hubbard made history by qualifying for the women's 87-kilogram event in May, her victory has been shrouded in scrutiny over the hot-button issue of her gender identity. While critics have claimed that transgender athletes benefit from unfair physical advantages, doctors and scientists say that is an oversimplification not supported by the facts.
"At the same time, the IOC is in an inquiry phase with all different stakeholders... to review these rules and finally to come up with some guidelines which cannot be rules because this is a question where there is no one-size-fits-all solution," Bach said. "It differs from sport to sport."
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics beginning July 23rd and the Tokyo Paralympics beginning August 24th on NBC.