Quinn Makes Olympic History As The First Openly Transgender And Nonbinary Athlete To Win A Medal

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Move over, Beyoncé, Madonna, and Cher. 

Ok, don’t move OVER, that’s too far, just make some room for another mononymous icon. 

They may not have the same name recognition — yet — but remember the name Quinn. 

The Tokyo Olympics introduced those who didn’t already know the Canadian soccer (or football, depending on who you ask) player to the world. 

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A post shared by Quinn (@thequinny5)

The Canadian midfielder made history in the final days of the Olympics. 

Not only did Quinn help their team beat Sweden for the gold medal, they also achieved something impactful — they became the first-ever out transgender and nonbinary player to bring home a medal.


The 25-year-old came out on social platforms last year, disclosing their pronouns to be they/them and going only by Quinn. 

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Since then, they’ve been open about being a visible trans person in sports, telling The Canadian Press it was partly because they were “tired of being misgendered” in society and the media, and also to be a “visible figure” for younger people who may be “questioning their gender, exploring their gender.”

“Athletics is the most exciting part of my life and it brings me the most joy,” Quinn told CBC Sports. “If I can allow kids to play the sports they love, that’s my legacy and that’s what I’m here for.”

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In July, they posted to Instagram, “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.”

“The fight isn’t close to over … and I’ll celebrate when we’re all here,” they wrote.

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LGBTQ Discrimination In Sports 

In recent years there have been steps forward for a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ athletes in the sports world, but the strides are small. 

While a number of professional athletes have come out, it appears the sports arena is a more hostile environment than most. 

“Locker rooms remain less inclusive of LGBTQ people than places like schools or workplaces,” said Rachel Allison and Chris Knoester in The Conversation.

“And though many sports teams and figures have publicly campaigned against homophobia and transphobia, half of LGBTQ respondents in our recent study said that they’d experienced discrimination, insults, bullying or abuse while playing, watching or talking about sports.”

For the study, they surveyed 4,000 U.S. adults and asked them whether they’d been mistreated in various sports-related contexts. They also asked them whether they believed LGBTQ athletes were unwelcome in sports.

“We found that this sort of personal mistreatment — whether it’s bullying or insults — is a relatively common experience in sports: 36% of U.S. adults said they’d experienced some form of it. 

“But LGBTQ adults were particularly likely to have fallen into this camp, with half of adults who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or another nonheterosexual identity responding that they were personally mistreated. About 60% of nonbinary adults in the survey said that they’d experienced sports-related mistreatment.”

They also found that perceptions of homophobia and transphobia are common, and LGBTQ adults seem more attuned to them. 

“While 30% of heterosexuals somewhat or strongly agreed that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes are not welcomed in sports, 45% of adults who identified as a sexual minority did so. About 42% of nonbinary adults felt that these athletes aren’t welcomed in sports.”

Not only are they not welcomed, but the backlash from homophobic individuals is swift and damaging.


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Quinn is right about the long road ahead to acceptance, having experienced it themselves. 

After they came out in September, Quinn tweeted “Nearly every publication, including LGBTQ news sources, has used my deadname while reporting my story. The news matters and it’s crucial to write about trans people using their name & pronouns. Please do your research, change your headlines, and grow.”

Wise words and we would all do well to listen up.


How can we foster acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community in sports? Share with us in the comments.

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