Mara Gomez Becomes First Transgender Woman To Play Professional Football
A transgender woman has made history in Argentina, after making her professional football debut in the country’s women’s first division earlier this week.
Mara Gomez, 23, played up front for Villa San Carlos for the first time after being officially registered by the Argentinian FA last month.
Despite losing the game 7-1, Gomez was full of positive emotions after having finally made her debut in the number seven shirt, and told interviewers she hoped her achievement would open up ‘new roads’ for other transgender footballers.
She told ESPN:
When I started out, football was a therapy for me and I couldn’t think it was possible to dream or consider playing in the top division.
A few years back this was unthinkable to talk about or debate but now we are opening new roads. This is a huge achievement. I’m totally grateful to my club, to my teammates and coaching staff for opening the doors for me and for showing me respect from the beginning.
I’m proud to represent a community but also a part of society and to know that I have become a reference for a lot of people.
It has been a long wait for Gomez to finally make her first professional appearance. The 23-year old signed her contract with the team earlier this year, but has seen the women’s first division interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Before signing for Villa San Carlos, Gomez had been playing in the lower Platense Football League for Las Malvinas, but was officially able to make the step up after the AFA confirmed she had acceptably low levels of testosterone in her blood.
Following the match, her team’s opponents Lanus presented a tearful Gomez with a commemorative shirt, and congratulated her in a tweet, saying ‘We celebrate and accompany this enormous step on the road to expanding rights’.
In a post on Instagram, Gomez credited football with saving her life, saying that the ‘discrimination and exclusion’ she faced outside of the sport had left her struggling with her mental health.
It wasn’t magic, it wasn’t a gift, it wasn’t easy. There was a life of fighting, suffering and sadness.
There was a life on the edge of death and a broken heart. Many obstacles had to be overcome to revert the past….This has only just begun. Today I breathe, today my soul returns to my body.
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