The Canadian female soccer team has a non-binary and ‘transgender’ player, who is representing her country in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Identified as Rebecca Quinn (now only Quinn), she plays as a midfielder for the Canada women’s national soccer team.
Although she is biologically female, she identifies herself as ‘male.’ Her first match against Japan at Sapporo made her the first ‘openly transgender’ to participate in an Olympic event. She was a member of the Canadian soccer team at the 2016 Rio Olympics as well, which saw the country win a bronze medal. At that time, she participated in soccer events as a female player.
In an Instagram post on July 22, Quinn wrote, “First openly trans Olympian to compete. I don’t know how to feel. I feel proud seeing “Quinn” upon the lineup and on my accreditation. I feel sad knowing there were Olympians before me unable to live their truth because of the world. 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. The fight isn’t close to over… and I’ll celebrate when we’re all here.”
Quinn came out as a male in 2020 and has openly professed her ‘new identity’ on social media. Besides her national team, she has also played for Washington Spirit and US team OL Reign. According to NBC News, at least 163 LGBTQ athletes are participating in this edition of the Olympic games. It reported, “The Games will also mark the first Olympics at which a Pride House has received official recognition from the International Olympic Committee.”
Although the International Olympic Association (IOA) had allowed participation of transgender athletes in the Olympics since 2004, it is the first time that so many are coming forward to participate. As per current rules, transgender women can compete in women’s sports if they demonstrate low testosterone levels for a year (12 months) prior to competing in an event. At the same time, athletes can only participate in Olympics after 4 years of transitioning to the new gender.