(CTN News) – The upcoming Women’s World Cup, scheduled to kick off in Australia and New Zealand on July 20, is set to feature a historic number of LGBTQ+ footballers.
Recent reports indicate that nearly 12 percent of the 736 players participating in this year’s tournament identify as lesbian, bisexual, queer, or non-binary.
With 88 known LGBTQ+ players, the figure more than doubles the count from the 2019 tournament in France. This surge in representation is seen as a positive reflection of growing acceptance within the sport.
Increased Acceptance and Representation:
The rise in the number of LGBTQ+ footballers aligns with the growing acceptance of diverse identities in the sport.
Notably, most out players originate from countries known for their LGBTQ+ inclusivity, including the United States, Europe, and the host nations, Australia and New Zealand.
Brazil is the most openly LGBTQ+-identifying team in the tournament, with nine out of 23 players identifying as LGBTQ+.
Among them is the legendary Marta Vieira da Silva, commonly known as Marta, who is participating in her sixth World Cup.
Notable Teams and Players:
Apart from Brazil, Australia and the Republic of Ireland, each has eight out players, while Sweden boasts seven.
England’s team includes five out players, namely Lucy Bronze, Lauren Hemp, Jess Carter, Rachel Daly, and Bethany England.
The latter three made history by becoming European champions after defeating Germany 2-1 in the final last year. Two head coaches, Pia Sundhage of Brazil and Bev Priestman of Canada, are also publicly out.
LGBTQ+ Representation in Men’s Football:
While the number of queer women in elite-level football continues to rise, it is important to note the lack of LGBTQ+ players in last year’s men’s tournament.
This disparity in representation exists across various sports, including basketball and ice hockey.
In contrast, the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) boasts over 25 percent of our women, emphasizing the impact of higher visibility on creating a more inclusive environment.
Nevertheless, a few male players have paved the way for LGBTQ+ representation in men’s football, including Josh Cavallo, Jake Daniels, Zander Murray, Jakub Jankto, Collin Martin, and Phuti Lekoloane.
The significant increase in LGBTQ+ footballers participating in the Women’s World Cup showcases the growth of acceptance and visibility within the sport. With a record-breaking 88 known LGBTQ+ players, this edition marks a milestone in promoting diversity and inclusivity.
As the Women’s World Cup approaches, the presence of these athletes sends a powerful message of courage and inspires others to embrace their true selves. While progress in LGBTQ+ representation in men’s football has been slower, the achievements of a few players offer hope for a more inclusive future in the sport.