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Nonbinary Olympian Quinn on Their Big Goals in 2021

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The Canadian soccer star, who is one of The Advocate's People of the Year, won gold and opened doors for trans kids in sports.

Nonbinary Canadian soccer sensation Quinn scored a double helping of historic firsts this year when they assisted Team Canada in winning gold in women's soccer at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. It was the first Olympic gold medal for the Canadian women's soccer team, and in the process, the 26-year-old became the first out trans person to win an Olympic medal.

"Visibility is quite significant [as is] having conversations about LGBTQ+ rights," Quinn says about what winning the medal means for LGBTQ+ people. They note the value of holding conversations about trans inclusion in sports. "There's still such a long way to go."

The pervasive trend of using state-level legislation to target trans student athletes, particularly young trans girls, troubles Quinn.

"It's heartbreaking. I think that everyone should have access to sports, especially young folks," Quinn says. Sports provided an outlet for them when they were younger and struggling with their identity, despite sports being "so highly intertwined with gender and the ways in which we structure it," they add.

Much like the team effort that led to Canada's historic gold medal in women's soccer this summer, Quinn believes the continuing fight against transphobia will require contributions from across the LGBTQ+ community.

"I think that myself and other older people in the LGBTQ community need to work tirelessly to fight these bills," Quinn says.

Although they upped the game this summer, Quinn is not resting on their laurels. They're focused now on helping Team Canada at the next World Cup as well as fighting for inclusion in their home country.

"I've realized that in Canada a lot more inclusivity needs to happen, especially at the youth sports level. For me, it's focusing and making sure that all sports programs, I mean, specifically soccer associations within Canada, have trans inclusion policies and are including everyone at the youth levels."

This story is part of The Advocate's 2021 People of the Year issue, which is out on newsstands November 23, 2021. To get your own copy directly, support queer media and subscribe -- or download yours for Amazon, Kindle, Nook, or Apple News.

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