A transgender woman has made history after making a professional football debut in Argentina’s women’s first division.
23-year-old Mara Gomez got the approval to play from the Argentina Football Association and played for Primera Division side Villa San Carlos on Monday.
Even though they lost the game 7-1, Gomez was overflowing with positivity as she hopes her accomplishment would open up “new roads” for other transgender players.
Gomez had been playing in the lower Plantense Football League for Malvinas before signing the contract for Villa San Carlos earlier this year.
In an interview with ESPN, Gomez said: “When I started out, football was a therapy for me and I couldn’t think it was possible to dream or consider playing in the top division.”
She went on: “A few years back this was unthinkable to talk about or debate but now we are opening new roads. This is a huge achievement.
“I’m totally grateful to my club, to my teammates and coaching staff for opening the doors for me and for showing me respect from the beginning. I’m proud to represent a community but also a part of society and to know that I have become a reference for a lot of people.”
In an Instagram post, Gomez credited football with saving her life. She said that the ‘exclusion’ and ‘discrimination’ she experienced outside of the sport had left her struggling with mental health.
“It wasn’t magic, it wasn’t a gift, it wasn’t easy. There was a life of fighting, suffering and sadness,” she expressed.
“There was a life on the edge of death and a broken heart. Many obstacles had to be overcome to revert the past….This has only just begun. Today I breathe, today my soul returns to my body.”
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