The first professional match for a “mutant” player
Mara Gomez became the first transgender player to participate in professional football when she played a match in the Argentinian Women’s First Division on Monday, confirming that this “historic” moment is a “social and collective matter.”
“Today was my beginnings, and I think things are starting to happen and work,” Mara said after losing her team, Via San Carlos 1-7, to Lanus in the second phase of the tournament.
The 23-year-old told “AFP” that “the issue is not individual, but social and collective.”
On November 28, Gomez secured permission to play in the women’s first division after a long struggle in a country where the average life expectancy of transgender women ranges between 32 and 40 years.
The player revealed that she had signed an agreement with the Argentine Football Association, requiring her to undergo hormone therapy.
It must also undergo tests to detect testosterone at the start and middle of the tournament to remove any suspicion that there is an athlete’s disparity with its peers.
Argentina was the first Latin American country to pass a sexual identity law in 2012, which allowed Gomez to officially change her gender on her national identity card when she was 18.
On Monday, the Lanos team presented Gómez a club shirt with her number 10, in addition to her name, as a gift to her, commenting: “It was moving, I did not expect that.”
Mara started playing football at the age of 15 with the encouragement of the neighborhood’s people. She was distinguished from others in the women’s league in La Plata, where she was the top scorer in the last two seasons, prompting Via San Carlos, who is last in the first division, to sign with her.
On Friday, she said, during a press conference, that her participation is “a historic moment on the global level.”