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Transgender woman poised to make Argentine soccer history

Mara Gómez is poised to become the first transgender woman to play professional soccer in Argentina. “We have to continue changing society so we are seen as people.'

15.2.2020

Mara Gómez is poised to become the first transgender woman to play professional soccer in Argentina . “We have to continue changing society so we are seen as people.'

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Dozens of trophies, balls and cups sit on two worn, wooden shelves in the small home in a Buenos Aires suburb of Mara Gómez, who is poised to become the first...

Soccer player Mara Gomez poses for a portrait at her home in La Plata, Argentina, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. Gomez is a transgender woman who is limited to only training with her women's professional soccer team, Villa San Carlos. She is waiting for confirmation from the Argentina Football Association (AFA) she can play. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Dozens of trophies, balls and cups sit on two worn, wooden shelves in the small home in a Buenos Aires suburb of Mara Gómez, who is poised to become the first transgender woman to play professional soccer in Argentina. Tall and athletic, Gómez looks at the mementos from her arduous journey in soccer and life, and smiles. “When I started I was so bad. I’d kick the ball at the goal and it would go anywhere.” Gómez spent years playing in local women’s leagues in Buenos Aires province before being signed recently by Villa San Carlos in the first division. Now the 22-year-old forward is awaiting the Argentine Soccer Federation’s decision whether to authorize the signing in a soccer-mad country that has produced some of the world’s greatest stars, from Lionel Messi to Maradona. Besides soccer fame, Argentina has also become a regional leader in transgender rights. In 2012, it gave people the freedom to change their legal and physical gender without having to undergo judicial, psychiatric and medical procedures. The federation’s decision on Gómez could come in days, and in the run-up her cellphone pings constantly with messages from people reaching out to her. While many support her bid to play professional soccer, others contend it is unfair to the non-transgender women in the league. “The rights of transgender athletes and the social demands to integrate them into competitions challenge and seriously threaten the rights of women in sports,” said Juan Manuel Herbella, a former soccer player who is a sports doctor. “Athletes who were born men, if they maintain their base conditions, start with an enormous advantage.” Juan Cruz Vitale, the Villa San Carlos coach, rejects the idea that Gómez would have an unfair advantage. The coach said she caught his eye with her speed and her scoring in two straight tournaments. But, he said, “If we talk of strength, I have at least five or six girls who are stronger than her. On that side I don’t see that there is an advantage.” Amid the controversy, Gómez recalls how at age 10 she began to ask questions. “I realized that I wanted to be a woman because I liked men and I wanted them to see me in another way.” She said at 13 she told her mother, Caroline, that she was going to lose her only son. She told her: “I want to be a woman and if you don’t accept it, I am going to leave home.” Though her mother accepted her, Gómez said she was tormented by discrimination after assuming the gender she identifies with and was on the brink of taking her own life. Then, she found soccer. She started playing in a vacant lot in front of her house next to her neighbors. “I used it as a therapy — me trying to accept myself,” she told The Associated Press in the house in the suburb of La Plata she shares with her mother and four younger sisters. “There was a mound of emotions that were making me psychologically unwell. I realized that when I play soccer this mound disappeared.” On her journey she says she has suffered discrimination and complaints about her participation. One of her worst days came during a lightning tournament. “They put me on defense but I didn’t know how to play well. I put a goal in my own net. When the first half ended I found out the other team had complained that I shouldn’t play because I put them at a disadvantage. They considered my sexuality a disadvantage for them even though I was playing so poorly.” Gómez learned to live with the insults from fans and the complaints when at age 18, backed by the law, she got her new identity card. “Now I had the identity that I saw myself as having. This gave me the confidence to be who I am,” said Gó The requests for interviews she has been getting recently have forced her to alter her routine of soccer training and working shifts as a manicurist and hair-straightener, which she does to make a living while studying nursing. Villa San Carlos is in last place in the current first division tournament and is fighting to not descend a division. Argentina’s soccer federation has no regulations about transgender athletes, so doubt remains about what it will say amid the debate over whether transgender women should play in professional women’s leagues. The federation declined AP requests to comment on Gómez’s case. “On the field, you can have speed and strength, but that doesn’t help you if you don’t know how to play football,” Gómez said. ”I always hold up the example of Messi ... He measures 1.6 meters (5 foot, 7 inches) and is the best player in the world.” She models her play on that of Darío Benedetto, formerly with Argentina’s Boca Juniors and now with France’s Olympique de Marseille, and Florencia Bonsegundo, who plays with Valencia in Spain. Some specialists have said that a higher level of testosterone in some transgender women gives them greater muscular power and an advantage in women’s leagues. The soccer federation’s decision will take into considerations the rules set out by the International Olympic Committee for transgender athletes. In the case of male-to-female transgender athletes they will need to demonstrate that their testosterone level has been below a certain cutoff point for at least one year before their first competition. Gómez said she dreams of playing with Boca Juniors, her favorite team, and on the Argentine national team. She says she also hopes she serves as an inspiration for other transgender people who in spite of recent advances still suffer violence and discrimination. “We have to continue changing society so we are seen as people,” she said. AP NEWS Read more: The Associated Press

KTLA She just took a job away from a female. No This should never happen. Solution: in whatever sport create a transgender league Transgender destroying women’s sports one at a time Let me guess she’s now dominating the league. I wonder why. This shit is hilarious. This is another liberal issue any thing to screw up the world...

Unfair I feel strongly that I’m a Orc Warrior born in The Barrens of Azeroth. But no one will accept me 😞 It’s a bloke Good grief. 🙄

Transgender woman poised to make Argentine soccer historyDozens of trophies, balls and cups sit on two worn, wooden shelves in the small home in a Buenos Aires suburb of Mara Gómez, who is poised to become the first transgender woman to play professional soccer in Argentina when I play soccer this mound disappeared. nice. moving 1s body in manner one loves= best medicine $bhc Gross🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮 Unreal un athletic males pretending to be girl to win.. Fuckind clown

KTLA Yes but what are the athletic skills between different genders. I don’t think these are fair decisions. But I’m always the real bad guy without commenting one way or another. So what is fair? You are seen, as a man or a woman! So we have a guy who couldn’t hack it against the guys wanting to play with the gals. And ap calls it a story

stopit you are physically a man with a confused head How would he do on the man’s team? 🙄 I thought Diego Maradona was the first And totally kill all women’s sports. It’s a man. Doesn’t matter what it thinks it is. They better let the real ladies start taking steroids to even up the field. This is sad. Where are the women’s rights people in this mess

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I love it men are now gonna dominate “women” sports. Like that’s a thing anymore I identify as a 12 yr old so I’m gonna FINALLY dominate in middle school basketball Flat out unfair and wrong. Biology101, Anatomy 101. So a man is taking a woman’s roster spot? That’s what’s really going on here. Society doesn't need to be conformed into living in another person's mentally ill fantasy world. If a person identified as a dog, that's called a mental disorder. It was called gender identity disorder for a very long time, because it's a mental condition. Wolves cannot be sheep.

My ears hurt from all this drum banging. Awful. Biological women and girl have fought too long to participate in sports to have to cede their rights to biological men. we didn’t fight for co-ed sports. Being a woman is more than top surgery and a damn dress. Stop celebrating this fucking madness. Woman is biology.

No one thinks you’re not a person. We just know you’re not a female. Smh 😎🤦🏽‍♀️

Shining a Spotlight on Film’s Overlooked Black WomenInside a Film Forum series that’s making an effort to rewrite a whitewashed cinematic history. It would be nice if you did the same.

So will the women be allowed to take steroids and human growth hormones now? I’m sorry but no. It’s not fair. Wtf. I don’t care if she plays. It’s just a game. I care if people are good and kind people to others. If african Americans get reparations I am going to identify as black so I can get them too 👍. You must agree with me or you are racist .

“She” is a man!!!!! What? Whoever said transgender were not people? She is a transgender not a woman. Period. No fair for women. Soon enough biological women will not be needed in competitive sports. It’s like they’re telling us, men can do everything better than us🙄 How can you play soccer with no balls?

Black History Month: 17 LGBTQ black pioneers who made historyFrom 1960s civil rights activist Bayard Rustin to Chicago's first black female and LGBTQ mayor, Lori Lightfoot, black LGBTQ Americans have long made history with contributions to politics, art, medicine and a host of other fields. BlackHistoryMonth Your1Phoenician Anyone affiliated with weather underground communist Soviet backed domestic terrorist group? Just curious. I remember it was pretty violent. Will you people please knock off this silly homosexual agenda and trying to equate black people with your weird sex culture? This month isn't about LGBT. Cool it untill March maybe?

Travesty. In my opinion, If the transition was from man to woman is a transgender man playing as a woman. A transgender woman would be an ex lady playing as a male. In any case saying transgender is enough to describe that person who by the way has a competitive advantage over women Biology calls out the lie.

You can’t change your biological sex. So unfair. It’s a man...competing against women 🤦🏾‍♀️. Everyone is free to be whomever they wanna be, BUT there’s no fairness in having a man, who believes he’s a woman, competing against real women in sports. Esto es un crimen Dude wants to play in womens’ league. Not sure why this is news.

She gon cook them other girls We have to see Argentinians as people?

Grey’s Anatomy Makes History with New Character Who Is Deaf Played by Shoshannah SternShoshannah Stern will be playing Dr. Lauren Riley, the first recurring doctor who is deaf on a network primetime series Check what ER did years ago.......... not true! ER was first!!!!!

I see myself as 7 year old. Im going to dominate on my u9 soccer team Or not. Men managing to occupy the places that were previously exclusive to women 👍 No worries. You’re seen as people, but not people that should be competing with biological women. That’s a man

US men's soccer union sounds off on federation's 'false narrative' about equal pay for womenMembers of the U.S. men's national soccer team voice support for their female counterparts, ahead of the women's national team's gender discrimination trial involving the U.S. Soccer Federation. If they can compete on the same level, then pay them the same. Have the women's team play the men's team and the winner gets the better pay It all comes down to attendance & merchandise dollars. Do female teams match or surpass monetary creation? If so they deserve to be paid equally or more. If not the debate has no legs. I honestly do t know the popularity of women's soccer but that should/would be the barometer Lol! Does this 'support' include demanding that their paychecks be cut and shared with the female team to make the payroll equal?



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