Historic number of LGBTIQ athletes taking part in FIFA Women's World Cup

20th July 2023

Today marks the beginning of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. 

This FIFA Women’s World Cup has been named the World Cup with the highest number of out LGBTIQ athletes following research by OutSports. They estimate that there are LGBTIQ athletes on at least 22 of the teams, and we are here for it. OutSports and other outlets have identified more than 87 players who are out and in the squads for the World Cup starting Thursday 20th July.

Sports Media LGBT+ highlight that in 2011 for the finals in Germany, only three of the competing nations had equal marriage legislations. That number for 2023 is now at 20 nations. While Scotland got equal marriage in 2014, they are unfortunately not represented in this FIFA Women’s World Cup, however that doesn’t make the Scotland Women’s National Team any less world class.

The SWNT are world class not only in their performances (and recent win over Finland) but in their dedication to eradicating homophobia in football. From wearing Football v Homophobia t-shirts in warm-up to dedicating a match against Wales to the Football v Homophobia campaign, the Scottish Women’s National Team hold a special place in our hearts. Most recently we have heard from Rachel Corsie, Scottish Women’s National, outlining her support for the inclusion of trans people in sport. In her latest column, Rachel said: “My genuine view on trans women’s participation in Scottish women’s football is I am happy for them to be included, and I don’t feel any opposition to trans women being on my team or in opposition teams.”

Rachel Corsie went on to say that: “For me, inclusivity is a pillar of women’s football.” And as we saw during the Qatar World Cup and again now, the fight is not over yet. With just 3 weeks to go before the opening game, FIFA announced the One Love armband was not to be used, but captains could choose from pre-approved armbands. In response to FIFA banning the One Love armband, a coalition of former players have published an open letter: “In a world of growing anti-LGBTIQ+ sentiment, including laws that penalise who we are, FIFA and every organisation associated with the beautiful game should be taking a stand in favour of human rights, of dignity, and for LGBTIQ+ people”.

While this World Cup is set up to be more joyful and inclusive, we should never forget some of the history and challenges that have come before. For a more in depth discussion about LGBTIQ trailblazers from past tournaments, check out the newest Football v Homophobia episode ‘Pride and the Women’s World Cup’. You can read more about the past tournaments and listen to the episode here.

As the group stages kick off, we are excited to watch a World Cup with 12% of the players living their authentic lives and feeling safe to share their stories and be proud of who they are.

Keep up to date with fixtures and scores here, including which channel is available to watch in your area. 

Written on 20th July 2023.