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. 

After COVID-19 Shut Down Flights, A Man Sailed Across The Atlantic Ocean All So That He Could See His Dad

Things That Matter

After COVID-19 Shut Down Flights, A Man Sailed Across The Atlantic Ocean All So That He Could See His Dad

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For one Argentian man, there really ain’t no mountain high enough.

After the coronavirus pandemic halted international travel, Juan Manuel Ballestero set sail on a three-month-long high seas journey to his see his 90-year-old father, proving not even a novel virus could keep him from his dad.

Ballestero set out to see his father after his home country of Argentina canceled all international passenger flights in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

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Misión cumplida! La fe cruza oceanos

A post shared by Juan Manuel Ballestero (@skuanavega) on

According to The New York Times, Ballestero had been on the Portugal island of Porto Santo when Argentina canceled international passenger flights. Still determined to see his father, Ballestero decided to set out on an 85-day sailing voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. All on his own.

“I didn’t want to stay like a coward on an island where there were no cases,” Juan Manuel said in an interview with The New York Times. “I wanted to do everything possible to return home. The most important thing for me was to be with my family.”

Ballestero is a veteran sailor and fisherman who has been a lover of water since he was 3 years old.

Still his family expressed that they were nervous about his decision to go his journey alone.

“The uncertainty of not knowing where he was for 50-some days was very rough, but we had no doubt this was going to turn out well,” his father, Carlos Alberto Ballestero said in an interview with The New York Times.

He also documented the trip all while on Instagram.

Though Ballestero made the trip home safe and sound, he did run into a few issues along the way.

Ballestero said that on April 12 authorities in Cape Verde barred him from docking his sailboat so that he could replenish his food supply and refuel his boat. At the time, Ballestero was eating only canned tuna, fruit, and rice. Because of Cape Verde’s denial, he was forced to continue forward with less fuel and rely on winds. What’s more, towards the end of his trip, Ballestero hit choppy waters and was forced to add an additional 10 days to his trip while in Vitória, Brazil.

Despite the complications, Ballestero said he never considered giving up. “I wasn’t afraid, but I did have a lot of uncertainty,” he explained. “It was very strange to sail in the middle of a pandemic with humanity teetering around me… There was no going back.”

Ballestero arrived on June 17 in Mar del Plata.

“Entering my port where my father had his sailboat, where he taught me so many things and where I learned how to sail and where all this originated, gave me the taste of a mission accomplished,” he shared before revealing that he had to take a test for COVID-19 before he could see his family. Fortunately, after 72 hours of waiting for his results, he found out that he was COVID-19-free and able to enter Argentina.

Despite his long trip, Ballestero said that he’s eager to hit the waters again soon.

“What I lived is a dream. But I have a strong desire to keep on sailing.”

Netflix’s ‘Disclosure’ Gets Honest About The Evolution Of Trans Representation In Media

Culture

Netflix’s ‘Disclosure’ Gets Honest About The Evolution Of Trans Representation In Media

Netflix / YouTube

Representation in media is something that is often taken for granted.

Representation in media is crucial. Seeing positive examples of yourself reflected in media is something that many people don’t have. Representation in the media does more than offer a new storyline. It validates someone else’s life experience. Showing the transgender experience is the latest big push in Hollywood for a more accurate representation of the country.

Another benefit of accurate and diverse representation in media is being able to expose people to different people. According to a study by GLAAD, 80 percent of Americans claim not to know anyone who is trans. Documentaries like “Disclosure” and shows like “Orange Is the New Black” and “Pose” break that barrier.

As discussed in the trailer, the scope of trans visibility in media has increased exponentially in recent years. The landscape of television has changed tremendously and trans people are playing trans characters to tell trans stories.

One of the most celebrated examples of trans representation in mainstream media is FX’s “Pose.” The show is an unapologetic look at the lives of trans and queer people of color in the late 1980s and early 1990s New York City. It brings ballroom culture to an audience like never before. For one of the first times in history, people watching the show can see trans people of color leading the narrative about their experiences and history.

Before now, trans and queer people had few moments of representation in media and most are in a negative light. As you hear in the documentary, many of the trans actors have played trans characters but they are usually dead or the prostitute. It is a reflection of what society sees these people as and that message is transmitted to anyone who is watching the show.

You can now stream “Disclosure” on Netflix. The documentary is sure to change the way you see trans lives and trans representation in media.

READ: ‘Pose’ Cast Calls On NAACP To Include Ways For The Organization To Guarantee That Black Trans Lives Matter