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Canadian footballer Quinn makes history as first transgender athlete to win an Olympic medal


A Canandian footballer has made history after becoming the first transgender athlete to win an Olympic medal by claiming gold with victory in Sweden.  

Quinn — who goes by a single name and uses the pronouns ‘they’ and ‘their’ — won the women’s gold-medal match 3-2 on penalties alongside their team mates, after the game ended 1-1 at full time. 

The 25-year-old has a long history with the Canadian team, with 68 caps, debuting in 2014 and winning bronze at the 2016 Rio Games, but only came out as transgender last year. 

Canadian footballer Quinn has become the first transgender athlete to win an Olympic medal in the women’s football final against Sweden

Quinn's victory at the Tokyo Games is another trailblazing moment for the marginalised community

Quinn’s victory at the Tokyo Games is another trailblazing moment for the marginalised community

Quinn’s win not only breaks record as the first transgender athlete to win a gold medal, but also the first non-binary competitor.  

Speaking about coming out as transgender at the time, Quinn said: ‘I wanted to be my authentic self in all spheres of my life and one of those is being in a public space. 

‘So that was one of the reasons behind it, because I was tired of being misgendered and everything like that.’ 

The player’s status at the Tokyo Games has until now largely been overshadowed by the presence of transgender New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard. 

Quinn's win not only breaks record as the first transgender athlete to win a gold medal, but also the first non-binary competitor (pictured with team mate Sophie Schmidt)

Quinn’s win not only breaks record as the first transgender athlete to win a gold medal, but also the first non-binary competitor (pictured with team mate Sophie Schmidt)

Since coming out as transgender, Quinn goes by a single name and uses the pronouns 'they' and 'their'

 Since coming out as transgender, Quinn goes by a single name and uses the pronouns ‘they’ and ‘their’

Hubbard, whom the International Olympic Committee acknowledges became the first openly trans woman to compete at the Olympics on Monday, set off a firestorm of debate over her taking part. 

Critics argued the New Zealander had physical advantages locked into her body from her developmental years as a male, making it unfair for her to compete against female-born lifters. 

However, Hubbard’s Games debut proved anti-climactic in a sporting sense when she failed to complete a lift. 

The 43-year-old, who was twice the age of some of her rivals and had not competed internationally since before the coronavirus pandemic, later admitted she was ‘overwhelmed’ to be in the spotlight. 

There are no questions about Quinn’s sporting prowess. The player is entering the prime years for a defensive midfielder and lines up at club level alongside top women’s stars.

Speaking about coming out as transgender at the time, Quinn said: 'I wanted to be my authentic self in all spheres of my life and one of those is being in a public space.' (pictured competing at the Tokyo women's football final)

 Speaking about coming out as transgender at the time, Quinn said: ‘I wanted to be my authentic self in all spheres of my life and one of those is being in a public space.’ (pictured competing at the Tokyo women’s football final)

Since coming out as transgender, Quinn goes by a single name and uses the pronouns 'they' and 'their'

Since coming out as transgender, Quinn goes by a single name and uses the pronouns ‘they’ and ‘their’

The 25-year-old has a long history with the Canadian team, debuting in 2014 and winning bronze at the 2016 Rio Games, but only came out as transgender last year

The 25-year-old has a long history with the Canadian team, debuting in 2014 and winning bronze at the 2016 Rio Games, but only came out as transgender last year

Quinn, who plays with the Seattle-based OL Reign in the US National Women’s Soccer League, has also not faced questions about their presence on the Canadian women’s team. 

Their parents also played sport in their college days, with their mother Linda playing basketball at the University of Waterloo in Canada and father Bill playing rugby at the University of Western Ontario.   

The player told the club website: ‘I am considered maybe one of the most digestible versions of what it means to be trans. 

‘I’m white, I’m trans-masculine. I want my story to be told because when we have lots of trans visibility that’s where we start making a movement and start making gains in society.’ 

Quinn was permitted to continue playing professional women’s football on the basis of their sex assigned at birth instead of their gender identity. 

Quinn, who plays with the Seattle-based OL Reign in the US National Women's Soccer League, has also not faced questions about their presence on the Canadian women's team

Quinn, who plays with the Seattle-based OL Reign in the US National Women’s Soccer League, has also not faced questions about their presence on the Canadian women’s team

After coming out, Quinn expressed disappointment after the media used their three-word birth name and said: ‘It’s crucial to write about trans people using their names and pronouns.’   

These Olympic Games have been called the most inclusive to date, with Outsports reporting there would be at least 180 out LGBTQ+ Olympians with at least four athletes who are out and either trans or non-binary.   

In the Rio 2016 Olympics, there were just 56 out LGBTQ+ Olympians and no transgender or non-binary athletes.  

Like Hubbard, Quinn has spoken about the struggles of being transgender and being a role model at the Games for young people experiencing similar challenges. 

‘(I’m) getting messages from young people saying they’ve never seen a trans person in sports before,’ Quinn told public broadcaster CBC after Cana shocked tournament favourites USA 1-0 to make the final. 

The player's pioneering status at the Tokyo Games has until now largely been overshadowed by the presence of transgender New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard (pictured)

The player’s pioneering status at the Tokyo Games has until now largely been overshadowed by the presence of transgender New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard (pictured)

‘Athletics is the most exciting part of my life… If I can allow kids to play the sports they love, that’s my legacy and that’s what I’m here for.’

After arriving in Tokyo, Quinn reflected on what it meant to appear on sport’s biggest stage as an openly trans athlete. 

‘I don’t know how to feel. I feel proud seeing ‘Quinn’ up on the line-up and on my accreditation. I feel sad knowing there were Olympians before me unable to live their truth because of the world,’ the player posted on social media. 

The Canadian expressed optimism about the future but said the trans community still faced harsh realities. 

‘(There’s) 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.’   

Critics argued the New Zealander had physical advantages locked into her body from her developmental years as a male, making it unfair for her to compete against female-born lifters

Critics argued the New Zealander had physical advantages locked into her body from her developmental years as a male, making it unfair for her to compete against female-born lifters



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