Footballer Becomes Olympics’ First-Ever Openly Trans Athlete

by : Hannah Smith on : 26 Jul 2021 12:15
Footballer Becomes Olympics First Ever Openly Trans AthleteQuinn/Instagram

Canadian footballer Quinn has celebrated becoming the first openly transgender person to compete at the Olympics, but says that the fight for transgender rights in sports and beyond ‘isn’t close to over’.

Quinn, who is non-binary, was part of the Canadian women’s football team’s 1-1 draw with Japan in Sapporo last Wednesday, July 21, making them the first out transgender athlete to compete at an Olympic Games.

Canadian nonbinary footballer QuinnPA Images

In a post on Instagram following the match, Quinn said, ‘I feel proud seeing `Quinn’ up on the lineup and on my accreditation. I feel sad knowing there were Olympians before me unable to live their truth because of this world.’ They added that they were ‘optimistic for change’ following their role in increasing the visibility of transgender athletes.

Quinn had previously competed in the Olympics for Canada at Rio 2016, and came out as transgender last year. While they recognised their landmark achievement, they also acknowledged that there was much further to go in the battle for trans rights.

In their statement, Quinn added:


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 was involved in Canada's 1-1 draw with Japan (Quinn/Instagram)Quinn/Instagram

Quinn is one of three openly transgender athletes competing at Tokyo 2020, with New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard and American BMX cyclist Chelsea Wolfe also involved in the games. According to Huffington Post, there are also a number of transgender athletes competing at the games who have not openly discussed their gender identity.

While the growing visibility of trans athletes has been celebrated by many, those competing have also faced abuse on social media by those who believe trans women should not be allowed to compete in women’s sports.


Transgender athletes have been allowed to compete at the Olympics since 2004 under strict testing conditions, but none have done so openly until this this year’s games.

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Hannah Smith

Hannah Smith is a London-based journalist at UNILAD. After studying History at UCL she worked for print publications on both sides of the pond, including spells at Harper's Magazine and The Times, before graduating with an MA in Newspaper Journalism from City, University of London.

Topics: Sport, LGBTQ+, no-article-matching, Olympics, Tokyo 2020


Huffington Post
  1. Huffington Post

    First Openly Transgender Olympians Are Competing In Tokyo