As conversations around the inclusion of trans and nonbinary athletes at the 2020 Summer Olympics continue to pop up, Quinn, the Canadian soccer player who represents both communities, let their final word on the subject be golden.
Quinn, along with four other out LGBTQ players and out coach Bev Priestman, defeated Sweden in the women’s soccer gold medal match Friday after a tense penalty shootout. The win makes Quinn the first out trans nonbinary gold medalist in the history of the Olympics.
“It’s incredible. This is a lifetime dream. This team is amazing. They’re my second family,” Quinn told the CBC post-game. “We’ve been through so much together. I have no words to describe how much they mean to me. They just allow me to be myself and I know everyone feels that same.”
This is so cool! pic.twitter.com/JbDOsOJZg1— Karleigh Chardonnay Webb (@ChardonnayM) August 6, 2021
These Olympics were always going to be historic for Quinn, who plays professionally for the NWSL’s OL Reign. They were one of four out trans athletes to make Olympic teams ahead of the Tokyo Games, and joined American skateboarder Alana Smith as the only out nonbinary athletes on Olympic squads; both were firsts. They were the only athlete from either group to guarantee themself a medal with Canada’s upset win over the U.S. Women’s national team in a close semifinal.
But more important to Quinn is the chance to give others in the trans and nonbinary community an example of trans/enby excellence on one of the largest stages in sports. “[I’m] getting messages from young people saying they’ve never seen a trans person in sports before,” Quinn told the CBC before Friday’s gold medal match. “Athletics is the most exciting part of my life and it brings me the most joy … If I can allow kids to play the sports they love, that’s my legacy and that’s what I’m here for.”
The feeling remained after Quinn helped lift Canada to its first Olympic gold medal and their own historic moment. “What I want to do is make sure kids keep playing sports. For me that was so important … Soccer is such a joy in my life and I hope that people see they can be themselves and continue to play sports and there’s a place for them,” Quinn said.
The subject was on their mind before ever stepping onto the pitch at the Tokyo Games as well. “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 the world,” Quinn said in an Instagram post following Canada opening match against Japan on July 21. Their participation in that match made them the first out trans nonbinary athlete to compete at the Olympics, just days ahead of Smith and one week before trans New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard.
“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,” they added. “The fight isn’t close to over… and I’ll celebrate when we’re all here.”
There are undoubtedly more battles ahead for trans, nonbinary and LGBTQ people coming out a historically queer Olympiad, but Quinn’s success, Smith’s joyous presence and Hubbard’s courage were statements that resonated throughout cultures worldwide. And now Quinn has the best memento to signify what these games meant to queer audiences everywhere.
Quinn Olympics: Previously on Towleroad
Screenshot via Twitter