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Canada’s Quinn Makes History As First Openly Transgender And Nonbinary Athlete To Win Olympic Medal

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at August 6, 2021


The Canadian women’s soccer team won gold after playing in its first ever Olympic gold medal match at the Tokyo 2020 Games on Friday, a game that also marks the first time an openly transgender and nonbinary athlete has won a medal at the Olympic Games.

Key Facts

Quinn, who came out as transgender and nonbinary on social media last fall, won a gold medal on Friday when Canada beat Sweden in penalty shootouts.

The midfielder was the first openly transgender and nonbinary athlete to ever compete in the Olympics when they played in one of the first events of the Games in July.

After that match, Quinn said they felt “proud” seeing their name on the lineup but “sad knowing there were Olympians before me unable to live their truth” and said they were “aware of the realities” of discrimination and bias trans women face. 

Though Quinn has won an Olympic medal before—they were part of Canada’s bronze medal-winning squad at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016—they had not publicly come out as trans or nonbinary at the time.  

Quinn was one of a number of openly trans and nonbinary athletes to qualify and compete in the Tokyo 2020 Games, including U.S. skateboarder Alana Smith and New Zealand Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard. 

Crucial Quote

“[I’m] getting messages from young people saying they’ve never seen a trans person in sports before,” Quinn told the CBC after beating the U.S. in the semi-final. “Athletics is the most exciting part of my life … If I can allow kids to play the sports they love, that’s my legacy and that’s what I’m here for.”

Key Background

Trans athletes have been allowed to compete in the Olympics since 2004, when Athens hosted the Games. For four Games—in Athens, Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro—no openly trans athletes qualified to compete. The inclusion of openly trans competitors in Tokyo—especially Hubbard—sparked controversy and ignited fierce debate over fairness. While Olympic officials defended Hubbard’s participation, the International Olympic Committee said it plans to release new guidelines for transgender athletes within two months of the Games. These will be focused on safety, fairness and inclusion, the organization said.   

Big Number

182. That’s at least how many openly LGBTQ+ athletes there are competing at the Tokyo 2020 Games, according to Outsports. In Rio, there were 56. In London, 23. 

Further Reading

Quinn: Canada’s transgender footballer on being ‘visible’ and playing at the Olympics (BBC)

Here Are The First Openly Transgender And Nonbinary Olympians Making History In Tokyo (Forbes)

Laurel Hubbard Crashes Out Of Weightlifting As Quinn Makes Soccer Final — Here Are The First Openly Transgender And Nonbinary Olympians (Photos) (Forbes)

There Are More Openly LGBTQ+ Olympians At Tokyo 2020 Than All Other Games Combined — Here Are The Athletes Making Sporting History (Forbes)


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