Canadian soccer star Quinn is one of three transgender and / or non-binary athletes to compete at the Tokyo Games – along with New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard and American skateboarder Alana Smith – but Quinn will be the only one to walk away with a medal.
The color of the medal, however, will depend on Canada’s championship game against the Swedish women’s soccer team on Friday.
Canada will compete for gold against Sweden after beating the United States 1-0 on Monday, thanks to a penalty in the 75th minute of the game.
Friday’s game will be the first time a Canadian women’s soccer team has participated in a final match at the Olympic Games.
“I am so proud of my team. They are my best friends. I’m so glad we brought home a better medal than bronze, ”said midfielder Quinn, who bears a name and uses gender-neutral pronouns, according to Canadian media outlet CBC.
The Toronto native made his Olympic debut at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, where he helped the team win a bronze medal. They previously played for Duke University, then played professionally for Washington Spirit, Paris FC and Seattle Reign FC, according to the Canadian Olympic Committee website.
Quinn appeared as transgender and non-binary in an Instagram post earlier this year and encouraged her followers to be better allies of trans people by putting their pronouns in their Instagram bio, following trans people like author Janet Mock and practicing neutral pronouns with friends or in the mirror.
“Coming out is DIFFICULT (and a bit bs),” they wrote in September. “I know for me it’s something that I will do for the rest of my life. As I have lived as an openly trans person with the people I love most for many years, I have always wondered when I would come out in public.
There are at least 180 LGBTQ athletes at the Olympics this year, according to the latest tally from the LGBTQ Outsports sports website.
Quinn and his team will win either a silver or a gold medal. Fans celebrated what their victory means for trans and non-binary people.
Quinn became the first openly trans athlete to compete in the Olympic Games’ 125-year history, even though the Games began allowing trans athletes in 2004.
In a July 22 Instagram post, Quinn wrote that they “didn’t know how to feel” about the historic achievement.
“I’m proud to see ‘Quinn’ on the lineup and on my credentials,” they wrote. “I am sad to know that there were Olympians before me unable to live their truth because of the world. I am optimistic for change. Change of legislature. Changes in the rules, structures and mentalities.”
They said that most of them felt “aware of the realities”. For example, they wrote that trans girls have been banned from sports – nine states have passed laws prohibiting trans student-athletes from competing on teams that match their gender identities.
Under current guidelines, updated by the International Olympic Committee in 2015, trans men can compete in the men’s categories at the Olympics without restriction.
Regulations for trans female athletes are stricter: their testosterone levels must be below 10 nanomoles per liter of blood for at least 12 months before their first competition, although there is no clear scientific evidence to prove that testosterone increases the sports performance of elite athletes.
IOC President Thomas Bach told a press conference in July, while speaking about Hubbard’s involvement, that the rules governing trans athletes would be reviewed in the near future.
“The fight isn’t about to end,” Quinn wrote in her Instagram post in July, “and I’ll be celebrating when we’re all here.”
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