Soccer (or football to the rest of the world) is the world's most popular sport and is called 'the beautiful game' by its fans.
But what is happening to 44 year old Mexican transwoman Miranda Itzayana is anything but beautiful.
Prior to transition, she played for the first division Mexican League team Pumas and others from 1985-1992. She wanted to play the sport again and in June 2012 after showing documentation verifying her feminine identity, Itzayana joined the Mexican Women's League team Jaguars Aldana.
Initially she was told there was no problem with her playing in the league, but pressure mounted as opposing teams wanted her thrown out of the league for 'playing like a man'. Itzayana was also subjected to homophobic and transphobic slurs while playing matches.
In February during a Mexican Women's League meeting the league and her team bowed to pressure and baseless accusations from opposing teams by not allowing Itzayana to play. The league after that meeting subsequently enacted a 'women born women' policy to keep her out in violation of the IOC Stockholm Accords that FIFA and national soccer federations follow that allow trans athletes to compete.
Jaguars Aldana, fearing being barred from the Mexican Women's League, threatened to expel Itzayana from the team if she complained publicly about her unjust treatment. Upset about the discriminatory treatment she was receiving, she decided to take her case to the Council for the Prevention and Elimination of Discrimination in Mexico City (COPRED).
The COPRED commissioner ruled in her favor and ordered that Itzayana be reinstated, allowed to play in the next tounament and the discriminatory league rule be changed to allow her participation.
FIFA has had an ongoing 'Say No To Racism' campaign in which we see the banner held up by players of both teams during every World Cup Men's and Women's tournament and other major confederation tournaments in international soccer. We'll see it again later this summer in Brazil.
But as I wrote back in 2011 and Jazz, Aeris Houlihan and Miranda Itzayana can tell you from painful experience, FIFA needs to immediately embark upon a campaign to eradicate transphobia and homophobia
from the sport, too.