After considering the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), transgender woman Mara Stefania Gomez was given the green light by the Argentina Football Association (AFA) to play football for Villa San Carlos.
Her interest in the sport was sparked at the perfect time, when she was struggling with mental health issues amid experiences with “discrimination and exclusion.”
"Football came to my life at a time when I needed it," she said in an interview with ESPN. "It came at a time when I was struggling psychologically because of discrimination, exclusion, and I saw it as a therapy. I realized that football could be a style of life for me.”
#FEMENINOxTNTsports | ¡Un día histórico! Hoy Mara Gómez hace su debut en Villa San Carlos y se convierte en la primera jugadora trans profesional del fútbol argentino. ¡Felicitaciones, @MaraStefaniaGo1!
Villa San Carlos ? Lanús pic.twitter.com/xFkyVuOviM— TNT Sports LA (en ?) (@TNTSportsLA) December 7, 2020
Admittedly, Gomez once thought her ambition was too big. “I couldn’t think it was possible to dream or consider playing in the top division,” she shared. “A few years back this was unthinkable to talk about or debate but now we are opening new roads. This is a huge achievement.”
Club Atlético Lanús, the opposing team, presented her with a club jersey in celebration of this remarkable feat. "We celebrate and accompany this enormous step on the road to expanding rights,” they tweeted. “Congratulations Mara Gomez."
Apart from expressing her utmost gratitude to her teammates who have shown her nothing but love and respect since day one, she also thanked Lanús for the sweet gesture. “Thank you very much for the surprise of this beautiful presentation (I was shocked),” she wrote in an Instagram post.
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“This is the sport that we all want, THAT IT BE FOR EVERYONE,” concluded Gomez.
Article thumbnails from Mara Gomez' Instagram account