A Historic Week For Transgender Athletes At the Tokyo Olympics

by Wyatt Ronan

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This past week saw historic transgender participation in the Tokyo Olympics as three transgender and non-binary athletes competed in their respective sports for the first time in the history of the international games. Early Monday, Quinn (they/them), a midfielder for the Canadian women’s Olympic soccer team, became the first transgender or non-binary athlete to ever secure a medal in the games as Canada advanced to the final versus Japan, guaranteeing Canada a spot on the podium. Laurel Hubbard (she/her) competed in women’s weightlifting for New Zealand but fell short of advancing to the medal round of competition. Alana Smith (they/them) competed earlier in the week in women’s street skateboarding representing the United States, also falling short of medal round qualification. Chelsea Wolfe (she/her) is also in Tokyo as an alternate for the United States’ BMX freestyle team. Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David issued the following statement celebrating a historic week at the Olympics:

This was a historic week for transgender and non-binary athletes in the Olympics, showing once again that transgender athletes can and do participate at the highest level of sports without incident. As with all athletes, some succeeded in achieving their goals while others did not. Regardless of whether or not they medaled, the transgender and non-binary athletes who have joined the world stage in this year’s Olympics have set an example of what trans and non-binary young people can aspire to, proving once again that representation matters and young people deserve role models in every walk of life. There’s nothing that transgender and non-binary young people cannot do, and that message was loud and clear this week. Congratulations to Quinn, Laurel, Alana, and Chelsea.

Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President

This is the first Olympic games in which transgender athletes have competed. This year’s games mark the largest contingent of LGBTQ Olympic athletes, who total more than 160 this year.

Contact Us

To make a general inquiry, please visit our contact page. Members of the media can reach our press office at: (202) 572-8968 or email press@hrc.org.