Sports journalist by ANNE M. PETERSON AP
TOKYO (AP) – For Quinn, a midfielder of the Canadian women’s soccer team, the opening game of the Tokyo Games had more emotional weight than her previous Olympic appearances.
Quinn was the first openly transgender athlete to compete in the Olympics when she competed in Canada’s 1-1 draw with Japan in Sapporo on Wednesday night.
Quinn, who is non-binary and uses she / she pronouns, posted her feelings on Instagram.
“I’m proud to see ‘Quinn’ in the line-up and on my accreditation. I am sad to know that there were Olympians before me who were unable to live their truth because of this world. “ They write. “I am optimistic about change. Change in the legislature, changes in rules, structures and ways of thinking. “
Quinn, who was outed as transgender last year, was also a member of the Canadian team that won the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“Most of the time I am aware of the realities” Quinn continued. “Trans girls are banned from sport. Trans women face discrimination and bias while trying to achieve their Olympic dreams. The fight is far from over … and I will celebrate when we are all here. “
Quinn, who plays professionally for OL Reign in the National Women’s Soccer League, isn’t the only transgender athlete to compete in the Tokyo Games. Perhaps the most visible is Laurel Hubbard, a transgender woman who competes in weightlifting for New Zealand. Chelsea Wolfe, a transgender cyclist, is a reserve on the US women’s BMX freestyle team.
There was an opportunity for several other elite transgender athletes to compete in Tokyo. Nikki Hiltz failed to qualify in the US athletics tests over the women’s 1,500 meters, while CeCe Telfer was declared unsuitable for the 400-meter hurdles when she applied. Volleyball player Tiffany Abreu did not make it into the last Olympic list in Brazil.
The International Olympic Committee has allowed transgender athletes to compete in the Olympics since 2004, but none had openly done so until this year. In addition to Quinn, Hubbard and Wolfe, some transgender athletes compete without talking about their transition. Some have been outed and harassed online by people who oppose competition from transgender athletes.
The current rules set certain conditions for transgender women to compete in women’s sports. Among them, athletes are required to have lower testosterone levels 12 months prior to competition, and athletes cannot qualify until four years after the transition at the earliest.
Chris Mosier, a triathlete and activist who came out transgender in 2010, took part in the Olympic trials for the men’s 50K race last year but was forced to resign due to an injury.
Last week, in an interview with The Associated Press, Mosier said he believed it was an important human rights milestone that transgender athletes would compete in the Tokyo Olympics for the first time.
“As someone who has been on the go for over a decade trying to increase the visibility of transgender athletes through my website and my own participation in sports, I am as proud of this moment as any of my accomplishments. Because that’s what I worked for. “ said Mosier. “I want spaces in sport for sports enthusiasts who are their authentic selves and who measure themselves at the highest level and know that they are loved and belong there. So I’m very happy that Laurel and Quinn are both participating. “
Transgender visibility at the Olympics comes amid a wave of anti-transgender legislation sweeping the United States.
Legislation has been passed in 37 states banning or restricting transgender athletes from participating in youth, high school, and even college sports. At least seven states have passed laws – but many of them face legal challenges.
The US Department of Justice has challenged a ban on transgender athletes in West Virginia and another law affecting children in Arkansas, citing both federal violations.
In June, the DOJ filed expressions of interest in lawsuits aimed at repealing new laws in these states. West Virginia has a law that prohibits transgender athletes from participating in female sports. Arkansas was the first state to ban gender-specific treatment or surgery for transgender teenagers.
The DOJ said the laws in both states violate the Equal Protection Clause of Amendment 14. It is also said that West Virginia law violates Title IX, which prohibits gender discrimination in educational programs or activities that receive federal funding.
Federal judges blocked both laws last week.
Fallon Fox is a former mixed martial arts fighter who came out as a transgender woman in 2013. In a decidedly male-dominated sport, she was exposed to widespread criticism at the time.
She is proud at this moment too.
“I think it’s great that we’re finally getting trans representatives at the Olympics. That was a long time coming. Some of the athletes, some transgender athletes, have tried to qualify for the Olympics in the past and all of them have failed. And we finally have some who have qualified “, said fox. “I think that actually says something: I’m not surprised that it took so long as we don’t have any unfair advantages.”
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