USWNT, Canada make joint statement in support of gender equality and ‘trans joy’

ORLANDO, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 16: Team Canada and USA gather before the 2023 SheBelieves Cup match at Exploria Stadium on February 16, 2023 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Players from the US and Canada gathered in a circle moments before Thursday’s SheBelieves Cup game in solidarity as Canadian players battle their federation. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Members of the US Women’s National Team played in the opening game of the SheBelieves Cup on Thursday night wearing a white and purple wristband in a double statement of solidarity with their Canadian opponents and with transgender people in general.

The purple ribbon was worn “in the name of gender equality”. This was announced by the association of players USWNT.and was a nod to Canadian players’ ongoing battle with their football federation over budget cuts and inequality.

The Canadian players also donned a purple ribbon and wore plain purple shirts as they entered the field “as a symbol of protest”. They said. on shirts, players wrote by hand: “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.”

Then, moments before the start of the game, which the US ended up winning 2-0, players from both teams gathered in a circle in midfield and went hand in hand for an even more visible show of solidarity.

Meanwhile, a three-word message was written on the white ribbon: “PROTECT TRANS-JOY.” The game was in Orlando, so the message was sent to Florida, a state that is trying to ban gender-affirming care for minors and one of several states across the country that have passed laws against the rights of transgender people – in sports and in society at large.

The USWNT message reminded he sent a similar one last February during a game in Texas. Soon after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered state agencies to treat gender-confirmed exits as child abuse.several U.S. players wore bracelets that read, “Protect Transgender Children.”

“Denying trans children gender-affirming resources and threatening their parents and guardians with allegations of child abuse is HORRIBLE.” Captain Becky Sauerbrunn tweeted..

This question remained in their minds a year later, on the eve of the games in Florida and Texas.

“Including transgender children in sports is including children in sports,” striker Alex Morgan said last week. “Everyone should be able to play sports. And the fact that this is becoming part of politics is very sad. And I think it comes at the expense of the lives of transgender children.”

Sauerbrunn also published article in Springfield (MO) News-Leader earlier this month to advocate for the inclusion of trans girls and women in sports. “Since I started playing football, I have faced countless issues of gender equality in sport, from pay inequality to unsafe working conditions,” Sauerbrunn wrote. “I can assure you that playing with or against transgender women and girls is not a threat to women’s sports.”

Canadian players also wore a white ribbon on their left wrist and a purple ribbon on their right wrist. They first warmed up by turning their shirts inside out to hide the Canadian Football Association logo.

They later donned purple shirts for official entry and pre-game ceremonies. All 24 players, active or inactive, posed for a photo. They then entered the game in their standard red uniforms.

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 16: Canadian players pose before the match between Canada and USA at Exploria Stadium on February 16, 2023 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL – FEBRUARY 16: Canadian players pose before the match between Canada and USA at Exploria Stadium on February 16, 2023 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images)

Canadian players have threatened to go on strike as their battle with the CSA, commonly known as Canada Soccer, turned ugly last week. They are furious that about six months before the 2023 Women’s World Championship, the CSA cut the team’s funding. players say budget cuts left them with fewer staff, fewer training sessions and an underserved youth development system, all of which “compromised” their World Cup preparations.

These acute concerns have also escalated into wider frustration about how Canadian football is run and how the CSA is treating its women’s and men’s teams unfairly.

Throughout the week, American players showed solidarity with Canadian players. USWNTPA added to that support just over an hour before kickoff on Thursday.

“While we are now on the other side of this struggle and can focus on our game on the field,” the U.S. Players Union wrote in a statement, referring to their own successful fight for equal pay and treatment, “our colleagues in Canada and elsewhere are experiencing this the pervasive misogyny and unequal treatment that we have experienced.

“We stand with all women footballers in raising awareness of their collective struggle, but we also encourage everyone to join in and support the fight to end ALL inequalities and discrimination in our sport.”

USWNT strong in 2-0 win, Canada ‘exhausted’

All this was the inevitable context of a matchup between the reigning world champions and the reigning Olympic champions. This could become a training ground for minor players and a launching pad in their preparation for the World Cup. On the contrary, it was difficult to clearly analyze, given the emotional fatigue that the Canadian players must have felt.

“I think we’re just exhausted.” – Captain Christine Sinclair. told reporters after the game.

But with that caveat, the US played cohesively and impressively, perhaps more than any other game since last summer.

Even though Rose Lavelle, Sophia Smith, Naomi Girma and other long-time absentees were sidelined with injuries, the team won 2-0 thanks to two goals from Mallory Swanson (née Pugh). His press was devastating. His midfield, supported by an active Andy Sullivan, was solid. His attackers created chances freely and often, and could easily – and perhaps should have – reinforced Swanson’s double.

Next up is a date with Japan on Sunday (3:30 pm ET, TNT, HBO Max, Universo, Peacock). But the long-term perspective is connected with the World Cup, which will begin on July 20th. And in this regard, Thursday was promising.


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