Entertainment

Argentina’s Women’s Soccer League Could Have A Trans Player And We Can’t Celebrate Enough

It is no secret that the glass ceiling is an ever-present reality for women in all sorts of environments: in industry, entertainment and of course in professional sports. Sports is a male-centric environment and when it comes to professional leagues, womens’ teams and sports figures are seen as secondary to their hombre counterparts. Now, it is a fact that women are placed at a disadvantage when it comes to salaries and sponsorships in sports, but there is a particular group within the female population that is particularly vulnerable: trans women. Even public figures such as Hillary Clinton and J.K Rowling, who have championed women’s issues, have made unfortunate comments that can be judged as transphobic. The world is still dominated by CIS discourses and trans rights have a long way to go. 

Trans women suffer discrimination and lack of opportunities and any move forward is a significant win. That is why news coming out of Argentina give us hope in a more equal and inclusive future. The country could soon have its first trans woman professional soccer player, subject to the approval by the league. 

Mara Gomez would become the first trans woman to play in Argentina’s female soccer league.

Mara is now 22-years-old and, if approved by the AFA, the reigning body in Argentinian soccer, she will play for for Villa San Carlos, a lower-tier team in Argentina’s top league. Even if her team has not been particularly successful on the field, they have certainly triumphed in terms of their progressive politics.

When she was 15 she was figuring out her gender and sexuality, she felt bullied and alone. Until she kicked a ball and everything changed. As she revealed in Politica y Gestion, she wasn’t particularly good when she started playing but the joy for the game and perseverance helped her cross the line: “I was really bad, but I realized that it was helping me. I could escape a lot of things and it calmed my mind. Fútbol was like therapy. I began to devote more time to it. At 18, everything changed when I began transitioning. I tried out in Toronto City and they accepted me, as I am. They opened their doors and saw me as just one more player. I ended up at a lot of other teams until I got to Malvinas, which was where I was last and we became two-time league champions.”

She fully acknowledges the physical differences she will have with other female players.

In an interview for Politica y Gestion she fully acknowledged and dealt the issue of her trans identity con la cabeza en alto: “There are lots of other players who are much stronger and faster than me and they didn’t use to be male. People talk in these terms simply because medical science split us up into male and female, but we have to consider the human capacity to adapt.” You go, girl! 

The league has to approve her contract, but things are looking up.

Villa San Carlos has officially requested an approval for Mara’s contract. As reported by CE Noticias Financieras, things are looking up for Mara and her team due to three factors that will surely influence the league’s decision: “First is the fact that the front has all the studies that prove that their testosterone levels are within the limits that set regulations to compete in the female branch of the discipline. They then rely on the implementation of the Gender Identity Law, a regulation with which Argentina pioneered the guarantee of rights and which, among other issues, establishes the obligation that trans persons be treated according to their identity self-perceived gender.

Finally, there is a case of a trans player who plays in the First B of Argentine women’s football”. If they deny Mara the right to play professionally they would certainly be involved in a PR nightmare! Fingers crossed!  However, the fact that Mara has to present a hormonal analysis in order to be approved is far from ideal. 

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All The Things We Learned From Netflix’s New “Pelé” Documentary

Entertainment

All The Things We Learned From Netflix’s New “Pelé” Documentary

Pelé / Netflix

Netflix continues to churn out powerful films in countries around the world and their latest venture, a look into the life of Brazilian footballer Pelé is another hit. Sure, Pelé may be considered the world’s best soccer player ever but his place in Brazilian history is less clear – at least according to the new doc.

Filmmakers David Tryhorn and Ben Nicholas spent hours in Pelé’s company interviewing him on everything from a childhood spent in poverty to his numerous affairs and his controversial relationship with the authoritarian regime that ruled Brazil during his playing career. Here are some of the key takeaways from this must watch documentary.

Pelé was criticized for not taking a political stance during Brazil’s authoritarian regime.

In 1964, the Brazilian military staged a coup, which led to a dictatorship being established in the country that lasted until 1985. The military government relied on torture and repression to maintain power.

In the film, Pelé is asked whether he knew about these practices at the time.

“If I were to say now that I had never been aware of it, that would be a lie,” he says. “There was a lot we never got to find out, but there were many stories too.”

However, the film paints him as taking a neutral stance throughout, never criticising the regime. Former team-mate Paulo Cezar Lima – aka Caju – doesn’t forgive him.

“I love Pele but that won’t stop me criticizing him. I thought his behavior was that of a black man who says ‘yes sir’,” said Caju. “A submissive black man. It’s a criticism I hold against him until this day, because just one statement from Pelé would have gone a long way.”

The government may have interfered with the Brazilian team.

A dejected Pele leaves the field at Goodison Park after being beaten 3-1 by Portugal, 1966.

The film paints a picture of how national team’s exploits were used to launder the reputation of the military regime during the 1960s. Before the 1970 World Cup, a journalist and friend of Pelé’s describes how it became very important for the regime’s international image that Brazil win the World Cup again. And that meant Pele had to play.

“Winning the World Cup became a governmental matter,” Kfouri says. “The team staff were almost entirely made up of military personnel.”

Manager Joao Saldanha appears to have been fired in the lead-up to the 1970 World Cup for criticizing the Brazilian president, telling a reporter: “I don’t pick his ministers and he doesn’t pick my team. That way we understand each other well.”

Pelé wanted to quit after the 1966 World Cup.

Credit: Pelé / Netflix

In the 1966 World Cup, Brazil was considered a favorite to win, having won the competition four years earlier in Chile. However, there was a massive shock when they were knocked out in the group stages.

“Getting knocked out of the World Cup in England was the saddest moment of my life,” Pelé says. In the film, he tells a reporter: “I don’t intend to play in any more World Cups, because I’m not lucky in them. This is the second World Cup where I have been injured after only two games.”

He played one more World Cup – the 1970 tournament in Mexico, which Brazil won. He’s still the only player to have won three World Cup trophies.

And he admits it was hard for him to stay faithful.

Stores of Pelé’s alleged infidelities and wild romances were common in the tabloids. By 1958, he was a global icon and football’s first millionaire while still only a teenager. And his fans followed him everywhere so it’s hardly a secret that Pelé did not show the same faithfulness to everyone in his life as he did to his club Santos.

At one point in the film, a journalist asks Pelé whether he found it difficult to remain faithful with the amount of women flirting with him.

“In all honesty, it was,” he says, “I’ve had a few affairs, some of which resulted in children, but I only learned about them later. My first wife knew all about it, I never lied to anyone.”

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Argentine Rapper Ecko to Star in HBO Max Series ‘Días de Gallos’

Latidomusic

Argentine Rapper Ecko to Star in HBO Max Series ‘Días de Gallos’

COURTESY OF WARNERMEDIA & HBO MAX

Rising Argentine rapper Ecko will make his acting debut in the upcoming HBO Max series Días de Gallos. He shared the good news this week about the project that hits close to home.

Días de Gallos will focus on rappers who come up through freestyle battles.

“This series is a snapshot of the world I come from, the world of freestyle,” Ecko said in a statement. “I am very comfortable telling this story. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with a great cast and production team.”

Like Ecko mentioned, Días de Gallos will be a scripted series showcasing the world of freestyle rap battles. He’s currently shooting the show in Bueno Aires, Argentina, with other confirmed castmates Ángela Torres and Tomás Wicz. Días de Gallos will premiere on HBO Max in June.

Ecko is one of Argentina’s leading trap rappers.

With a Latin trap movement happening within Argentina, Ecko has emerged as one of the country’s leading rap artists. He broke through in 2017 thanks to his hit “Dorado,” which has over 51 million views on YouTube. Ecko later followed that up with “Rebota,” the club banger he shares with other Argentine rappers like KHEA, Seven Kayne, and Iacho.

The 21-year-old artist has been building off that momentum, especially in 2020. Last November, Ecko released his EP Young Golden. For the EP’s lead single, he teamed up with Cazzu, Argentina’s top female trap artist, for the sensual collaboration “Cama Vacia.”

On Young Golden, Ecko collaborated with more of Latin music’s biggest hip-hop acts. He worked with Puerto Rican rapper Brytiago and Dominican singer Amenazzy for “QDLQQ” and Boricua trap pioneer Eladio Carrión in “Baila.”

Read: Trapera Cazzu Pretty Much Confirmed She Had A Relationship With Bad Bunny In A Super Awkward Interview

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