Spain’s first trans footballer Alba Palacios says she’s so much happier since coming out

Alba Palacios is making history as Spain’s first transgender football player and can’t contain her joy at finally being her true self.

Palacios began her transition and hormone therapy in 2017 and at the time played for the male team Torrelodones CF. Her teammates didn’t know – and she says they didn’t suspect anything.

“I didn’t dare tell my teammates, just the manager, Palacios told ESPN. They caught on that I was growing my hair long and that I appeared to be losing weight, but I had never shown signs of femininity. They didn’t put it together.”

Making the decision was both exciting and scary as she said her life was stable.

“It was complicated, because I was 30,” she added. “I had a very stable life, was in a relationship, and I was afraid of losing my work, that relationship, friends, all that.”

Alba Palacios was unsure if she would be allowed to compete but knew that becoming her truest self was more important. However, she soon found that she could have the best of both worlds.

Alba Palacios has gained many supporters. (Credit: Instagram)

“There was a law, which I wasn’t aware of, that you can compete in the gender you identify with, even if you’re not undergoing therapy. So because of that, Community of Madrid and the Madrid federation helped me out a lot,” she said.

Palacios made her debut as a transgender footballer as she became a registered player of the Rozas CF, a women’s team in the third division. During the first 20 minutes of her first game, Palacios scored a goal.

Now Palacios is a LGBTQ+ icon and inspiration, but it wasn’t a status she knew she wanted.

“I didn’t choose to be an example. When they talked to me about coming out publicly to help others, I said [to myself]: ‘Don’t be so selfish, Alba. Because you have always looked for someone to see if it could be done, and didn’t find anyone.’

“But yes, I would have liked to be known more for football than for being trans.”

With visibility comes a lot of pressure and fear, and while Alba Palacios had worried about public backlash her family is the one that struggled with her transition the most.

“In public, at work, friends and everything else, it turned out well,” she said. But telling her family was different and the trailblazer admits that it “complicated” things for them.

She said: “It was much more complicated with family… more because of fear and rejection. And acceptance was hard [for my parents].” But after a few years, her parents have gotten with the programme and they come to every game.

Palcios says she finally feels at “home” in regards to her identity and the football team.

“But now that I can enjoy being with the girls, it’s like feeling you’re at home, where you fit in. It’s a great feeling,” she said.

Palacios joins a small minority of transgender women who have tried to break in to sports and succeeded. The issue of transgender women playing sports continues to be a controversial one especially with the recent case of swimmer Lia Thomas.

Transgender women in sport continues to be a point of contention across various sports especially when it comes to competing at high levels.

While the world continues to row over this at least for now Palcios is enjoying her moment and just being happy.