May 19, 2022 by Speakers' Spotlight
Championing Inclusivity: Olympian Quinn is Trailblazing a New Future for Transgender Athletes
Olympic champion Quinn is a game changer. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Quinn made headlines as not only the first openly transgender athlete to compete, but also the first to win an Olympic medal of any kind. Quinn came home with a gold medal after the Canadian Women’s National Soccer Team’s historic win.
Quinn was celebrated as a game changer by the National Women’s Soccer League’s (NWSL) official sponsor, Ally, not only for their accomplishments on the field but also for their work as a role model and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, especially when it comes to sports.
Trailblazer and Advocate
Making their international debut in soccer in 2013, Quinn is both a professional player for Canada’s National Team as well as for OL Reign in the National Women’s Soccer League. Quinn was drafted third overall in the NWSL 2018 College Draft, earning the title of highest drafted Canadian player in NWSL history.
In September 2020, Quinn came out publicly as transgender and became a visible figure for younger people — and anyone — who may be questioning or exploring their gender identity
“The main reason for me wanting to share my story and share my experiences,” Quinn said to Ally, “is so younger folks can see themselves in these sports and young trans-folks can understand that they can continue to play the sports they love, and they can also identify as themselves.”
Quinn said it was important to share their story as they themselves didn’t have many people to look up to while searching for their own identity as a transgender person. At the time, there weren’t any players on the national team or professional soccer in general who identified as transgender, Quinn said, and that almost went across the board for all professional sports.
It was based on Quinn’s own struggles and experiences that they felt pulled to become a resource for others. This is why, Quinn said, they were open about having top surgery on social media because they found it difficult navigating that experience, from looking for a surgeon and understanding insurance to even knowing what to expect afterwards.
In addition, as a collegiate athlete at Duke University, Quinn worked with Duke alumni and other activists in the LGBTQ+ community to fight against anti-transgender legislation that limits or prohibits the participation of transgender athletes in sports.
Quinn is proud to be a part of the NWSL and to see their involvement in creating an inclusive space not only within their own organization but throughout the community as well. They are also hopeful about the new guidelines from the International Olympic Committee towards transgender athletes’ participation, saying it’s one step closer to building a more inclusive space for all.
In a CBC article, Quinn said, “This new IOC framework is groundbreaking in the way that it reflects what we know to be true — that athletes like me and my peers participate in sports without any inherent advantage, and that our humanity deserves to be respected.”
Building More Inclusive Workplaces
Quinn shared that when organizations are looking to create a more inclusive space for all, it begins with simple steps as to share your own pronouns and being cautious of the language you use when addressing groups of people.
Learn more about Quinn, their “surreal” Olympic experience, and their work in championing inclusivity on and off the soccer field in the video below:
As a keynote speaker, Quinn shares their journey as a transgender athlete and the power of allyship in helping members of the LGBTQ+ community achieve success.
Interested in learning more about Quinn and what they can bring as a keynote speaker to your event? Email us at [email protected].