The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup has been a tournament chock-a-block with LGBTQ+ representation and queer joy.
This summer’s Women’s World Cup saw a record 32 teams from around the globe descended on Australia and New Zealand to compete for football’s biggest prize, with an unparalleled number of out LGBTQ+ footballers taking to the pitch.
Women’s football has long outpaced the men’s game for LGBTQ+ inclusion and this competition is no different. From seeing joyful trans and non-binary visibility, adorable displays of lesbian love and powerful expressions of Pride in spite of FIFA’s rainbow ban, the 2023 World Cup was hella queer.
The tornament was not without its controversies though, with a reporter quizzing Morocco’s captain about gay players on the team and a pundit making a misogynistic comment about Katrina Gorry’s motherhood – which show we still have a long way to go.
There have been lots of proud LGBTQ+ moments during tournament, but these are some of our favourites:
Canada’s Quinn blazes the trail for trans visibility
Canada’s Quinn has blazed a trail for trans representation (Elsa – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Canada’s fan favourite Quinn broke down barriers at this tournament when they became the first out trans, non-binary player to take to the pitch at a World Cup.
Since coming out in 2020, Quinn has become a shining beacon of trans and non-binary representation in football.
At a time when countless sporting bodies are seeking to exclude trans folks from the sports they love, Quinn shows you can be your authentic self and play at the very top level.
Of course, this World Cup is not the first time Quinn has been a trailblazer. In 2021 they made sporting history as the first openly trans, non-binary person to win an Olympic medal when they helped Canada take gold at the Tokyo Games.
Alba Redondo shares pitch-side kiss with girlfriend
Alba Redondo of Spain celebrates her team’s 5-0 victory with her partner after the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Group C match between Spain and Zambia. (Hannah Peters – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
In an absolutely adorable display of love, Spain forward Alba Redondo – one of the team’s openly LGBTQ+ stars – shared a kiss with girlfriend Cristina Monleón.
Following Spain’s 5-0 win over Zambia, Monleón leaned out of the stands to give Redondo a well-deserved well done smooch.
The pair are not shy about their relationship and have a wealth of cute photographs littering their Instagram accounts.
The photograph displays a wonderful moment of support and love from one partner to another, amplified on the world’s biggest footballing stage.
Ali Riley’s rainbow nails bring Pride to the pitch
Ali Riley of New Zealand celebrates the team’s 1-0 victory after the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group A match between New Zealand and Norway at Eden Park on 20 July, 2023 in Auckland / Tāmaki Makaurau, New Zealand. (Hannah Peters – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Despite FIFA’s ban on rainbow armbands at the tournament, a number of players found sneaky ways to bring LGBTQ+ pride to the pitch – one such player was New Zealand captain Ali Riley.
The captain gained new fans across the world when she sported Pride-coloured nails.
Her one had was painted in the traditional colours of the rainbow Pride flag whilst the other featured the colours of the trans flag.
Fans spotted the her nails during her television emotional interview after the Football Ferns won 1-0 against Norway.
“FIFA said ‘you can’t show support for LGBTQ people during games. No armbands’. Ali Riley, New Zealand captain: ‘Try and stop me’. Look at her hands,” one fan commented.
Another wrote: “Right hand: Left hand: Are there still people out there wondering why we love Ali Riley so much?”
Rainbow lights take over Brisbane
A general of the stands at half-time of the Australia and New Zealand 2023 Women’s World Cup Group D football match between England and Haiti at Brisbane Stadium in Brisbane. (PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP via Getty Images)
Back at the very start of the World Cup, Brisbane Stadium was lit up in all its rainbow glory at half time during England’s Women’s World Cup opening match with Haiti.
Now, it cannot be confirmed that the lights were to represent the LGBTQ+ flag, but either way, it was a dazzling display of colour which queer fans certainly appreciated.
“FIFA may have banned OneLove but they can’t ban gay lights,” football journalist Emily Keogh said.
“Shade never made anybody less gay, FIFA,” another fan said on social media, in a nod to the lyrics of Taylor Swift’s 2019 hit “You Need To Calm Down”.
Sarina Bolden’s Instagram bio
Sarina Bolden’s Instagram bio is very relatable. (PinkNews)
Ok, not a moment per se but we are obsessed with the Instagram bio of Philippines midfielder Sarina Bolden.
“i just wanna have fun an b gay,” her Instagram bio reads and, honestly, same Sarina.
An out and proud player, she has previously shared some very adorable snaps of herself and her partner on Instagram.
Outside of the world of Instagram, Bolden had a historic tournament – despite the Philippines being knocked out in the group stage – as she scored the country’s first ever goal at a World Cup in their game against New Zealand.
Matildas solidarity for Katrina Gorry’s partner’s father
Australia’s Katrina Gorry with her daughter Harper following their win over France. (Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
During Australia’s quarter-final bout against France, the Matildas were spotted wearing black armbands, which was later confirmed to be out of respect for the death of a player’s family member.
Explaining the decision post-match, the Matildas’ midfileder Katrina Gorry said the team the armbands to pay their respects to her fiancee’s father, who passed away before the game.
Gorry’s partner Clara Markstedt, a Swedish footballer with whom she has a daughter called Harper, travelled back to Sweden the week before the match to be with her dad.
“My fiancee’s dad passed away a couple of nights ago, so it was for both of them,” Gorry told the Sydney Morning Herald at the time, “It’s been a tough 48 hours for me.”
She added: “My head’s been a bit everywhere tonight, but I know that I have full support, not just here, but I know her family in Sweden too and I just wanted to play for him and make him proud of that.
“Clara is over in Sweden, she went back last week and it all kind of happened. I’m glad she’s there with her family, but I definitely wish I could be there for her.”
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