First trans football player: FIFA’s lack of trans guidelines is unfair

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The first transgender football player to be recognised by FIFA has spoken out about the governing body’s lack of guidelines for trans people.

Jaiyah Saelua said: “I learned that FIFA does not have any standards for transgender people, which I feel isn’t fair.

“I was able to play, but about transgender people in other countries who aren’t very accepting of trans people?

“They should have the opportunity to play in such a beautiful sport.

“It’s the number one sport in the world, and I think it should be available to everyone, no matter what race, colour, gender, sexuality you come from.”

Saelua is fa’afafine, which means “way of a woman” or “womanly” in Samoa, where it is a celebrated part of the island’s culture.

When asked how accepting the sport is of trans people, Saelua told HuffPost Live: “In American Samoa the people are very open to fa’afafines, and that was the reason I was able to play.

“And it’s not only soccer, it’s any sport: here are fa’afafines who play for the American Samoa men’s national volleyball team, there’s one for the new rugby team, all kinds of sports.”

Saelua made her first professional appearance in a World Cup qualifier in 2011, which she spoke about in an interview with PinkNews earlier this year.

Earlier this month, FIFA was criticised by its own anti-discrimination chief for not taking decisive action over homophobic chants during the World Cup.