Quinn is a 26-year-old Canadian soccer player who is neither a sportsman nor a sportswoman. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Quinn, who uses they/them pronouns, was the first publicly transgender, non-binary sportsperson to compete in and procure a gold medal in the Olympics. A non-binary person is a person who doesn’t fit the gender binary. In simple words, a person who identifies as non-binary is neither male nor female by gender identity.
Quinn, before winning the gold medal for women’s soccer at the Tokyo Olympics won the bronze with her team at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The young protégé has also represented Canada in sixty-three international games winning the Algarve Cup in 2016, the Four Nations Tournament in 2015, and the CONCACAF awards in 2018 besides winning several national and collegiate tournaments.
Quinn is not the only sportsperson in their family. Their mother, Linda, played basketball while their father, Bill, played rugby in college. Perhaps athleticism runs in the blood as Quinn, since they were a child, played not only soccer but also swam, played hockey and, skied. At the young age of 14, Quinn began playing national-level soccer.
When Quinn first came out as no binary, they changed their name from Rebecca Quinn by adopting their surname as a mononym. Quinn was allowed to play women’s soccer based on their sex assigned at birth. Life as a transgender, non-binary athlete was, as imaginable, not easy for Quinn. Quinn has disclosed stories about how they were shoved and blocked from entering their team’s locker room in several tournaments.
“I shouldn’t have to beg to be in those spaces” said Quinn in an interview while narrating a story about how they were prevented from entering the pitch of a tournament in which their team was playing. Quinn doesn’t like to be in the spotlight as they have revealed that they are introverted and do not like attention. Quinn has achieved and proved something greater than oneself therefore fame though unwanted is a necessary step towards establishing an egalitarian society where genderqueer people are not discriminated against and are seen as fellow humans.
Like any person having doubts about their sexual identity, Quinn needed a role model to look up to when they found a fellow queer in their college in a program, the athlete ally, which is a nonprofit LGBTQ athletic advocacy. This queer who was the head of athlete ally and identified as a trans man taught Quinn that they didn’t have fit the gender binary to be their true self. Quinn was able to relate to his experiences and was happy to have found a person part of the LGBTQ community in the sports realm who understood what they were going through. Quinn now inspires and helps other young queers struggling with their gender identities. Through all their struggles, Quinn was always supported by their teammates, who showed the greatest virtue of sportsmanship that is support for fellow teammates no matter what. This shows that in life and not only in sports, while going through a hard time, surrounding ourselves with the right people will give us the strength we so desperately need to face this brutal world.
Since the beginning of civilization, sports are always categorized by gender- women’s soccer, men’s soccer, women’s tennis, men’s tennis, women’s cricket, men’s cricket and, so on. But the world today is not the same, there are more than two gender identities and more than two sexualities, and as the world is changing for the better we have to keep up with this change in order not to be ignorant and left behind. When the Olympics was first started in 1896, homosexuality was illegal in most countries but now, in 2021, more than 182 openly queer sportspeople have participated in the Olympics. We should be proud to have created a world where people are no longer afraid to be themselves. A world filled with role models like Quinn to give courage to young queers and even cisgender people to face the naysayers who try to contain us and snip our wings to prevent us from soaring. We must tune out the haters like unwanted noise and not be ashamed to be our true selves because as proved throughout history by legendary people like Quinn that as long as we work hard anything is possible.
The hate faced by people in the LGBTQ community throughout history was oblivious and is horrendous. People from this community have been victims of hate crimes and were barred from participating in many activities. They have been discriminated against and accused to have satanic associations. But now as people are becoming more educated towards the matter and more and more people such as Quinn change history the world is slowly evolving into a better place for all.