Fifa World Cup Just Had Its First Ever Openly Transgender Footballer Play On The Pitch

Non-binary footballer Quinn made history today.
Quinn of Canada (L) playing in Fifa Women's World Cup
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Quinn of Canada (L) playing in Fifa Women's World Cup

A non-binary footballer just played in the Fifa World Cup, a historic first for the tournament.

Canada’s midfielder Quinn came out in September 2020, and asked to be known only by a mononym, a one-word name, with the pronouns “they/them”.

And, on Tuesday, they played as part of Canada’s midfield in their country’s opening match against Nigeria in the 2023 Fifa World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand.

Quinn stayed on the pitch for the full 90 minutes, although the game ended as a goalless draw.

Even so, Quinn’s presence meant it was still a historic game, as they are first openly transgender and non-binary athlete to play during the tournament.

It’s particularly meaningful considering the ongoing furore around transgender people playing in competitive sports.

For instance, British cycling barred trans women and non-binary from competing in elite female events only in May.

Prior to the World Cup, Quinn told Streets of Toronto: “Being a transgender athlete, it was difficult to see my place in sports and see that I belong.

“And the same goes for cisgender girls who are navigating their experience; we have a male-dominated sports culture in North America and they deserve to see they have a place in this sport.”

They added: “It’s so important for young soccer players to have role models in sport. Seeing the women’s national team and fortunately being able to interact with some of them was hugely important for me in understanding that there was a pathway for me.”

Speaking about Quinn’s involvement in the World Cup team, Canadian freelance journalist, Har Johal, told BBC Sport: “It’s ground-breaking, historic. It shows people who watch sport that you can be non-binary and still play fantastic sport.

“Quinn is a great footballer and amazing person. Happy and comfortable, that’s all you want to be as a professional athlete to play your best.”

Quinn also helped Canada secure Olympic gold at the Tokyo games back in 2021, becoming the first out trans, non-binary athlete to win such a medal.

They’ve been a keen advocate for trans rights in sports, and offer one-to-one mentorship for 13-17 year old girls and gender diverse football players.