In addition to the pure joy that football brings them, Mara Gomez and Marcos Rojo have the added satisfaction of knowing that after a long and difficult journey, they blaze a trail for transgender players in Argentina.
Tall, slim and with her hair tied in a ponytail, Gomez plays for Team Villa San Carlos in La Plata, 60 kilometers south of Buenos Aires.
At 23, it aims to become the first transgender player in the professional league of new women in his native country.
“I suffered a lot of discrimination, exclusion, verbal abuse in the street and at school. Football was like therapy for me,” Gomez told AFP.
She began playing at age 15, encouraged by its neighbors.
in the league of women in Plata Gomez distinguéelle himself as the top scorer in the last two seasons.
This prompted Villa San Carlos, in last place in the professional league for women, seek to recruit.
“It is fast and it is very good to target on set pieces,” said Juan Cruz Vitale coach.
“Contrary to what people and the media have been thinking, it is not so strong. I have a number of girls who are stronger and although it is fast, I girls who are faster, “he noted.
But Vitale added, “it smart and learns quickly sound. and she gets the goals, which is what we lack. “
Le club is going to submit its request to the Argentine Football Association to sign Gomez in place, once the current coronavirus locking ends.
“There is a law on gender identity that they can” t get around. We are confident that she will be a star, “said the coach.
Argentina leads Latin America by adopting a gender identity law in 2012, which allowed Gomez to officially change their gender on their national identity card when she turned 18.
” I am very happy to know that as a society, we do a little more, we open our minds, “said she considered the prospect of becoming a professional player in a country that has produced some of the best players ofE football, including Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi the world.
“Playing with men
Rojo, 20, started playing this year as a center forward with the club Union del Suburbio Gualeguaychu in the northeast of the country, the first time he played on unL’équipe male. The league in the province of Entre Rios
There are two years, he changed his name and gender on their national identity card, and the team did not hesitate to sign him.
will give its membership as soon as the football activities restart.
In Salon Rojo hangs a photo of him at his 15th birthday party, when he officially identified as a girl. His family gave him its supportduring its transition.
“I wanted to change my official documents because I had always wanted to play with men. Since I was little, I felt like I was one of them, “said Rojo.
“football is a big step for me because it was the thing I was always looking for what I wanted,” he said. “The support of a team of this change means a lot. “
Rojo said the men’s game is” much more demanding. “
” The boys are all good kickers. For me it will be a great achievement if I can play in the first division at some point. ”
‘Right to Play’
Sebastian Rajoy, president of the Union del Suburbio, said thate “everyone has the right to play sports.”
“Clubs on margins are those that offer the possibility. Someone has to take the first step, and in this case, we are, “he said.
in this first stage of integration transgender players Rojo Gomez and are aware that they could be invited to undergo a hormonal test before they are fully accepted in leagues.
“the discussion is related to the dilemma between biology and respect for the rights of people,” said ayelenPujol, specialist in gender identity in sport.