While legislation targeting trans youth, specifically young trans women, in sports is being introduced in multiple states across the U.S., trans sports history is being made in South America.
22-year-old Mara Davis became the first trans player signed to play in Argentina’s Primera Division A, the country’s top women’s soccer league. She’ll suit up for Villa San Marcos, becoming the first trans woman to play in a tournament sanctioned by the Argentina Football Association.
Gomez’s signing marks a huge step in her soccer career after capturing two championships as a top striker for Las Malvinas of the Platense Amatuer League. Playing in Primera Division A represents an “impossible” achievement for her.
“I always saw it [as] impossible. I didn’t even think about it … I did not especially pursue being an AFA player, I wanted to play football, I wanted a team,” Gomez told Pagina 12.
But soccer holds much more importance for Gomez beyond making history on the pitch. The sport saved her life during her struggles with dysphoria and suicidal ideation during her adolescence.
“Playing ball was an emotional shock and it still is. But at that time I didn’t want to live, I really wanted to kill myself, I couldn’t cope with everything I was going through. And football was my therapy,” said Gomez. “I was going through this process of change and it helped me overcome everything that was happening and accept me.”
Gomez isn’t taking any guff from critics of trans athletes while celebrating her signing either. “I think it has to do with capacity and training, not with biology … If it were a matter of hormones or fitness, look at Messi: he is 1.60 [meters tall], he plays with men and against men, why do [they chase him in] four,” Gomez told Pagina 12.
Gomez will get her chance to channel the Argentine legend and have women chase her on the pitch when she suits up with Villa San Marcos in an attempt to bring them out of the league’s cellar.
“Today, Villa San Carlos is last on the table and all I want to do is contribute,” said Gomez. “I do not say that I am going to make [them] win every game because it is not going to be that way, but we are going to do our best.”