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Jaiyah Saeula        

World's First Transgender National Soccer Player to Play in a World Cup Qualifier

American Samoa soccer player Jaiyah Saeula was the world's first transgender national soccer player to compete in a men’s FIFA World Cup qualifying match in 2011. She identifies as Fa'afafine, a person in traditional Samoan culture born biologically male but embodying both masculine and feminine gender traits. In an open letter to her Samoan community, Saeula wrote about the Fa'afafine and the need to promote understanding and support for transgender people everywhere.

"A million transgender women can be visible in their societies and it truly helps when those women are well-known (ie: Janet Mock, Lavern Cox, Carmen Carrera, Caitlyn Jenner), but change comes from society members who do not understand or tolerate. They are the target," she wrote.

In December 2011, Saelua was the subject of a BBC World Football radio show.

Saelua is a performing arts student from the University of Hawaii.

Saelua starred in the Football Documentary Film Next Goal Wins released 19 April, 2014.

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