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Meet Samoa's trans men's national soccer team player Jayiah Saelua

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Jayiah Saelua faced discrimination at the University of Hawaii before finding a place on the Samoan men's national soccer team.

Olivier Konig, Out magazine

Out magazine has a great profile of Samoan national mens' soccer team player Jayiah Saelua, a transgender woman. The story hits home from the very opening scene from 2011, when Saelua is kicked off of the University of Hawaii soccer team:

But that year, when trying out for the University of Hawaii's men's soccer team, Saelua was yanked off the field within 15 minutes. "Thank you for coming out today," the head coach told her. "But I don't want to put my team in an uncomfortable position." Saelua nodded in immediate and embarrassed recognition, murmured a quick "Thank you," and rushed home.

"I knew what he was referring to," Saelua says, sitting at a Honolulu café and running her fingers through her meticulously flat-ironed hair. "I had the shortest shorts on the field, my legs were shaved, and I was wearing a padded bra." Drafted onto American Samoa's national team at age 14 thanks to her fearsome tackling skills, Saelua thought her deft footwork and years of training would eclipse any issues about the way she looked on the field. Saelua remembers crying after the 5 a.m. tryout as the first smudges of daylight appeared on the windward side of the island. "I thought maybe I should have put on a masculine show, made the team, and shown up in a dress later," she says. "But then I was like, You know what? Fuck it. I have to get ready for my dance class."

The piece is a powerful testament to the wonders of sport and a good primer on Samoa's "third gender," fa’afafine. Read the whole article at Out.com.