The bureaucratic measures

Sneaky: if you just say “trans” then it sounds like another progressive breakthrough and occasion to celebrate.

To get a call up to your club’s first team is every Argentinian boy’s dream. Or so the traditional tango goes.

“Now it’s the girls’ dream … too,” Mara Gómez, who became the first trans footballer to play in a top-flight Argentinian league earlier this week, tells the Guardian. Gómez signed a contract with Villa San Carlos in the recently professionalized women’s Primera División, after years of journeying through the amateur leagues.

It’s all very confusing, and that’s not accidental. This is a man, taking a place on a women’s team. There’s nothing progressive about it.

Gómez’s achievement is not a global first – trans footballers are active in American Samoa, Spain, Canada and England – but it is an important moment in a country where football is entwined with national identity.

There it is again. “Trans footballers” – meaning what, they don’t actually know a football from a tamandua?

Southern tamandua - Wikipedia
not a football

It matters which sex you’re talking about. If it’s a man identifying a woman then he’s taking something from women.

She trained indoors and went through the bureaucratic measures of certifying she could play with Argentina’s FA, which follows International Olympic Committee guidelines on trans athletes.

Complying was not an issue for Gómez’s though, as she has been undergoing hormone treatment for some time. “[The AFA] received me with respect … the president heard me and they helped me overcome a past of pain,” she says.

Oh isn’t that nice. As for the woman who lost the place that Gómez has, well, we just don’t give a shit about her.

The real difficulties were more personal, says Gómez. While the law, her club and the institutions around her were supportive, it is Argentina’s culture that impedes girls, trans or not, from playing football. Just a few years ago Argentinians didn’t speak about women’s football at all, says Gómez, let alone discuss opportunities for trans players.

Oh great – a few years ago Argentinians didn’t speak about women’s football at all, and now in just those few short years men who claim to be women are taking women’s places. Heads we win tails you lose.

Now she’s living her dream and is happy to have broken barriers.

And some woman’s dream.

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