“My thing is love of sport”. Mara Gomez is the world’s first transgender footballer to play in her country’s top flight. Monday, she affirmed her desire to “continue to progress without any kind of ceiling”, after becoming the first transgender player to play a match in the Argentine women’s championship, a real “glass ceiling”.
“Today, I started and I can believe that things are successful, that they are successful, that they are happening”, rejoiced Mara Gomez despite the 7-1 defeat of her team at Villa San Carlos against Lanus, during the 2nd day of the first division A.
“We’re trying here to do our best, looking for results. I had a lot of anxiety ”, the 23-year-old also told Argentinian newspaper Clarin. “We’re looking to enjoy and find a place in the world,” she continued, encouraging other trans people to “fight for their dreams”.
Mara Gomez was granted permission to play in the women’s first division on November 28, after a long fight, in a country where the average life expectancy of transgender women oscillates between 32 and 40 years.
The player explained that she had to sign an agreement with the Argentine Football Federation (AFA), under which she must undergo hormonal treatment. She must also undergo testosterone measurements, at the start and in the middle of the championship, in order to rule out any suspicion of a sporting advantage over other players in the competition.
Argentina, however, was a pioneer country in Latin America by adopting a law on gender identity in 2012, which allowed Mara to have the information on her national identity card changed from the age of 18.
On Monday, she received from her opponents, as a gift, a flocked jersey of the number 10 (that of the recently deceased Argentine icon Diego Maradona, an honor) and his first and last names. “It was touching, I didn’t expect it,” commented the heroine of the day.
A precedent in global sport
Born a boy, Mara Gomez started playing football at the age of 15. She stood out as the top scorer of the last two seasons in the La Plata women’s league. This is how Villa San Carlos, a professional women’s football team, spotted it. Friday, at a press conference, the young woman had already anticipated this “historic moment at the global level”.
Her elite and women’s league debut set a precedent in global sport as the inclusion of trans athletes has been an open debate for years. So much so that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has recommended that an “operation” is no longer “necessary to compete in the branch corresponding to the gender identity they express”.
The debate agitates other sports. Can transgender women play rugby in the women’s categories? Even after taking treatment to lower testosterone levels? This is the question that World Rugby is studying, according to The Guardian.
“The struggles were long, a lot of suffering, but it is not a personal conquest, it is a collective conquest”, adds Mara who has considered on several occasions that football “saved his life”, reports Clarin.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr