Maria Joaquina Is The 11-Year-Old Trans Latina Skater Changing The World Of Competition
At just 11-years-old, Brazilian prize-winning roller-skater Maria Joaquina can skate circles around most of her competitors. Still, despite her level of athleticism, the elite skater is facing various obstacles on her path to success. Mostly because of transphobia.
In a recent report by BBC, Joaquina was celebrated for finishing second in Brazil’s national roller skating championships. Typically, this achievement would have guaranteed her a slot at the South American regionals.
Unfortunately, the South American Skating Confederation is attempting to prevent her from competing.
SASC typically allows skaters to compete as women if they have a female name on their official ID.
Joaquina does not.
Though she goes by a feminine name, the 11-year-old still has the male name given to her at birth on her birth certificate.
When the South American Skating Confederation first contacted Joaquina to notify her that she’d been disqualified from competing, her parents hit back. They took the Confederation to court and ultimately won an injunction that made it so that she would be allowed to skate in the girls’ regional competition.
Then, a seemingly corrupted series of events happened.
The Confederation ordered that the skating order be changed and Joaquina was moved from her original slot as the last competitor to the very first. All without even a slip of notice.
Video of Joaquina taking part in the regional competition that day is hard to watch. With little to no time to prepare, the skater went out onto the floor and fell. Over and over again and when she couldn’t bear it much more she began to cry. All while pushing herself to finish her skate.
In an interview with the BBC, Joaquina’s father explained that it was too much pressure.
“People saying that you’ve not been accepted and [we] don’t want you to compete” had clearly taken its toll on her. And while the Confederation has said that the schedule change was not meant to sabotage Joaquina’s performance, it also reiterated its policy of “only letting skaters compete as women if they have a female name on their official ID.”
And yet, Joaquina has used the experience to continue to florish.
In her interview with BBC she explained that she wanted “people to understand that I’m a girl. It might still say João on my ID, but I know I’m a girl.”