Soccer player Quinn is the first out trans Olympian, but won’t be the last

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Canadian soccer player Quinn made history on Wednesday. “First openly trans Olympian to compete. I don’t know how to feel,” they wrote on Instagram.

The 2016 Olympic bronze medalist played 72 minutes in Canada’s 1-1 draw against host nation Japan. Next up for Canada is a group play game against Chile (Saturday, July 24 at 3:30am ET, live stream link here), while Japan plays Great Britain later that day (6:30am ET, live stream link here).

Quinn – who came out as non-binary and transgender in September 2020 – also wrote about both the previous and future generations of transgender athletes.

“I feel sad knowing there were Olympians before me unable to live their truth because of the world,” they wrote. “I feel optimistic for change. Change in legislature. Changes in rules, structures, and mindsets. 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.”

While Quinn is the first out trans athlete to compete in Tokyo, they won’t be the last. New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard – who competes in the women’s 87+ kg weight class – is set to become the first transgender woman to compete at the Olympics. Transgender women have been eligible to compete at the Olympics since the 2004 Athens Games, and the IOC most recently updated its guidelines for inclusion in 2015.

American Chelsea Wolfe will be traveling to Tokyo as the alternate in the women’s freestyle BMX event, but she isn’t currently slated to compete at the Olympics.

There will also be a historic number of out LGBTQ athletes overall: over 150 are expected to compete in Tokyo (up from 56 at the 2016 Rio Olympics and 23 at the 2012 London Games).

Note: Ahead of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, GLAAD – in partnership with Athlete Ally and Pride House Tokyo – released a media guide for covering LGBTQ athletes competing at the Games. The guide can be found here

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