Trans in football stories: Useful content that educates and explains

Published by Jon Holmes on

To mark Transgender Day of Visibility and in support of the annual Week of Action for the Football v Transphobia campaign, Sports Media LGBT+ recommends feature articles, podcasts and videos that give voice to a much-marginalised community of people in the game…

By Sports Media LGBT+

Jessy Parker Humphreys, Natalie Washington and Flo Lloyd-Hughes chatted FvT on Counter Pressed

Throughout the sixth annual Football v Transphobia Week of Action, inclusive clubs and leagues have been sending in messages of support for the campaign.

These have been amplified across the FvH social media channels, helping to demonstrate that despite the impression you’d get from following the coverage in the mainstream media, there is an increasing number of welcoming grassroots spaces that are open and accessible to gender-diverse people.

Higher up the pyramid, there is less visibility – but there are a few examples in the UK and abroad of trans women taking part in women’s football competitively with the support of team-mates and opposition players.

There are also some stories of non-binary people thriving, and the beginnings of representation for trans men.

Here, we’ve picked out 10 pieces of content – feature articles, videos and podcasts – about being trans in football, all of which come highly recommended. We’d love to get your recommendations too – email us, or drop us a DM on socials…

‘I felt like I was flying’ – Alba Palacios on the joys and pitfalls of being a transgender footballer (Emma Smith,, December 2020)

Palacios is now playing for A. D. Villaviciosa de Odón in the fourth tier of Spanish women’s football, at the age of 38. She started out in the game with the men’s team of Pozuelo de Alarcon, before later falling out of football as she transitioned.

In the Goal interview, she spoke about her return to the game, and said: “I have been very lucky. I have not had any bad comments from team-mates, opponents or fans.” This ESPN article with Palacios from June 2022 is also well worth a read, and speaking to 20 Minutos last year, she insisted that she had gone “six years without any problems”.

Mara Gomez, first transgender female pro in Argentina, in her own words: ‘Football saved my life’ (Tom Hamilton, ESPN, June 2021)

In 2020, Mara Gomez became the first out trans player in Argentina’s top-tier league. In this interview, she discussed the challenges she had faced and her hopes for the future: “I believe people can change their ways of thinking, and I know so because I have lived it inside the football world.

“The fact that an opposing player didn’t want me to play against her, to now, seeing her become a person who supports me and joins me, for example.” Gomez, now 27 and playing for Estudiantes, continues to be visible in the game.

Goal Diggers FC’s Paula Griffin on beating cancer, coming out, and finding inclusive football (Jon Holmes, Sky Sports, November 2021)

Paula Griffin is a goalkeeper currently playing with Clapton Community FC in the sixth-tier London & South East Regional Division 1 North. She has a remarkable story which she has shared in various media outlets to help others understand what it’s like to be a trans woman in the women’s game.

“It would be easy to look back on my life and say how I wish I’d done this or that,” she told Sky Sports in 2021. “But I want to look forward and say, ‘let’s do more’.” 

Trans footballers: The science and the complexities – a piece aiming to explain not inflame (Nancy Frostick, The Athletic, October 2022)

An in-depth feature that asks soccer-specific questions about trans inclusion and also includes the voices of trans people among the answers. Joanna Harper, visiting fellow for transgender athletic performance at Loughborough University, mentions how the FA had previously suggested to her that out of around a million women playing football in the UK, only “50 of those women are trans”.

Harper adds: “You see this huge under-representation… this idea that trans women are somehow a threat to women’s sports simply isn’t true.”

Being a trans footballer in 2023: ‘I’m more worried about safety than ever’ (Katie Whyatt, The Athletic, March 2023)

Manchester Laces goalkeeper Tamsyn Elkie is among the contributors to this long-read which looks at different elements of lived experiences.

“What the media has created is an environment where it’s OK to be transphobic,” Elkie tells Whyatt, before adding: “If football was to be taken away from me, it would be a huge loss to my life.”

Counter Pressed: Football v Transphobia special (March 2023)

FvT lead Natalie Washington joined Flo Lloyd-Hughes and Jessy Parker Humphreys for a chat about the campaign and how to maintain the reputation of women’s football as being generally inclusive to trans women, in comparison to many other team sports.

“It happens because people put the effort in and we have representation… the danger is that the propaganda myths get in by osmosis,” explains Washington.

TRUK United: ‘People will see us enjoying the beautiful game with a smile on our faces, which is how it should be played’ (Andrew Henderson, Pride of the Terraces, March 2023)

Shortly before TRUK United’s Trans Day of Visibility matchday at Dulwich Hamlet FC last year, the club’s founder and player-manager Lucy Clark talked through the journey so far.

“People are literally coming from all four corners of the UK to play for TRUK United,” she said. “That’s how much the football team has become a community.”

Watch Parker Dunn score for TRUK United’s transmasc team in their match at Dulwich in March 2023

Meet the trans football team making history (edited by Oliver Murphy,, June 2023)

The focus of TRUK United’s TDOV friendly fixture in 2023 was the first outing for its 11-a-side transmasculine team. Arthur Webber captained the side: “When we scored [see video above], that was a really empowering moment for us all. We were celebrating being able to create a space for people, rather than our performance.”

Also contributing to this feature is Freddie who says: “I can’t think of a time where I’ve met a group of strangers and felt comfortable in such a short amount of time.”

Authentically Quinn: A TSN Original with Rick Westhead (July 2023)

Quinn, who is trans and non-binary, recently won their 100th international cap for Canada – another milestone in the 28-year-old’s unique soccer journey.

With two Olympic medals (gold and bronze), an NWSL Shield with Seattle Reign and a history-making World Cup appearance, they have already achieved a great deal in the game.

Before playing out in Australia last summer, they talked about their gender identity struggles in this short documentary and explained how the Canadian national team had supported them: “[Coaches and staff] genuinely wanted to understand the best ways that they could support me and could learn and that they could change our environment to be more inclusive for other people, moving forward.” An extended interview with Quinn is also available here.

Meet the award-winning nonbinary soccer player sharing LGBTQ truths on TikTok (Jon Holmes, Outsports, March 2024)

Huddersfield Town’s Caz Simone is the only out non-binary player active in the higher tiers of the women’s game in England. They are an influencer who has been harnessing the power of TikTok to help others understand more about breaking down gender binaries in sport and society.

This chat came on the occasion of their success at the Football Black List Awards: “I’d never put my blackness and my queerness together before,” they explain. “To have been represented at these awards, it does feel quite special.”

Let us know your content picks – and find out more about supporting Football v Transphobia on the FvH website.

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