Story at a glance

  • Canadian midfielder Quinn is poised to become the first nonbinary athlete to take home an Olympic medal.
  • Their representation is especially poignant as the rights of transgender athletes, especially youth, are challenged.
  • This year’s Olympics boast more LGBTQ+ athletes than all other Summer Olympics combined.

For LGBTQ+ fans of the United States Women’s National Soccer Team, the semifinal loss to Canada was a bittersweet moment. While the former champions won't be defending their crown, their northern neighbors are now guaranteed a medal — meaning that an openly transgender or gender-nonconforming athlete will take home an Olympic medal for the first time in history. 

Canadian midfielder Quinn is poised to become the first nonbinary athlete to take home a medal, regardless of how the team performs in the finals. They are one of a record-setting 168 members of the LGBTQ+ community competing in Tokyo this year, representing 27 countries in 26 sports to more than double the 2016 count and more LGBTQ+ athletes than all other Summer Olympics combined.


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Their representation is especially poignant as the rights of transgender athletes, especially youth, are challenged across the world and the United States. 

"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."  

Women's soccer features the most openly LGBTQ+ athletes, including U.S. Women's National Team star Megan Rapinoe, and the U.S. leads the way with 30 openly LGBTQ+ athletes, followed by Canada and Britain, with 16 and 15 competitors respectively. Already, these Olympians have outperformed entire nations — and the competition isn’t over yet. 


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Published on Aug 04, 2021