There’s plenty of LGBTQ+ history being made at the Tokyo Olympics, and Canadian soccer player Quinn has expressed joy at being part of it and sadness for those who can’t be.
Quinn, who is transgender and nonbinary, last Wednesday became the first out trans athlete ever to complete in the Olympics. They played for Canada’s women’s team against Japan in a game that ended in a 1-1 tie.
“I feel proud seeing ‘Quinn’ up on the lineup and on my accreditation,” they wrote on Instagram. “I feel sad knowing there were Olympians before me unable to live their truth because of this world. I feel optimistic for change. Change in legislature. Changes in rules, structures, and mindsets.”
“Mostly, I feel aware of the realities,” Quinn went on. “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.”
Quinn, a midfielder, was on the Canadian women’s soccer team that won the bronze medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 but was not out as trans or nonbinary then. They came out last year.
Quinn went on to play in Saturday’s match against Chile, in which Canada won 2-1, positioning the team well for further progress. Canada will play Great Britain Tuesday, ending the group phase of the competition; the top eight nations from the group phase move to the quarterfinals, and then the quarterfinal winners go to the semifinals, and the semifinal winners compete for the medals.
“Canada is the only nation in the world to reach the podium at both London 2012 and Rio 2016 in women’s football,” Canada Soccer reports. “The team is hoping to make history by getting back on the podium for a third consecutive time.”
Professionally, Quinn plays for a U.S. team, the OL Reign, based in Tacoma, Wash. Megan Rapinoe, who is playing for the U.S. in the Olympics, is one of Quinn’s teammates on the Reign.
Next week, Laurel Hubbard of New Zealand will become the first out trans woman to participate in the Olympics. She will compete in the 87-kilogram class in weight lifting; that class’s competition is scheduled for August 2.
Trans American Chelsea Wolfe is traveling with the U.S. women’s bike motocross team, for which she is an alternate, but she isn’t expected to see any action, NBC Sports reports.
The achievements of trans Olympians come as states around the U.S. are seeking to ban trans athletes, especially trans females, from school sports. Trans-exclusionary legislation has been signed into law in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee, and West Virginia this year and executive orders to that effect issued in South Dakota, while Idaho passed such a law last year. The laws in Idaho and West Virginia have been temporarily blocked by courts (West Virginia’s as it applies only to one athlete), while governors have vetoed similar legislation in Louisiana, Kansas, and North Dakota.