The U.S. women’s sitting volleyball team took home their second consecutive Paralympics gold medal, defeating China three sets to one to close out the Tokyo Games. And a member of #TeamLGBTQ played a key role in the victory.
Monique Matthews scored 19 points in the match, becoming one of three U.S. players to reach that total to help lead the way to the top of the podium.
She was joined by Heather Erickson (21 points) and Katie Holloway (20) to form a fearsome attacking triumvirate that China could not overcome.
Matthews’ husband, Landon, came out as trans and transitioned following their wedding in 2016. Since then, Matthews has supported him every step of the way and she maintains a Gofundme page to help pay off the loans for his top surgery.
“When my husband transitioned, all of my teammates were good about using the proper pronouns and the correct name,” Matthews revealed, “There were some slip-ups at first, but now he’s just Landon. My team does really good with it.”
Now that team is a two-time Paralympic champion. In winning the gold medal match, the US women avenged an earlier loss to China in the second game of the tournament.
Additionally, combined with victories in women’s Olympic indoor and beach volleyball, the United States became the first nation to take home all three Olympics and Paralympics women’s volleyball gold medals in one summer.
“Women can do anything they put their mind to, and USA Volleyball has the strongest women in the world,” Holloway enthused following her team’s gold medal victory, “It is incredible to be in that place. We are so grateful to be among the most powerful women in the world in volleyball.”
It’s a status they’ll look to maintain when they go for a three-peat in 2024.