By: Gunny Jónsdóttir, Utah Royals FC / Iceland Women National Team midfielder
My name is Gunny Jonsdottir and I play professional soccer for the Utah Royals in the National Women’s Soccer League. I come from Iceland which is known for its firm belief in women’s rights, as well as being one of the most LGBTQ-friendly countries in the world. Having played professionally in three continents, I see that some countries have yet to realize that discrimination itself is the true problem, not who or what you discriminate against.
I have personally had great success as well as serious setbacks. I am surrounded by a large and supportive family and have never been told what to become or how to behave. Despite that, I have a story to tell.
I was a shy kid who was obsessed with sports, wanting to wear soccer jerseys at all times, preferably with a sweatband holding back my unkempt hair. I guess I wasn’t like most girls, but I didn’t notice or care. Society never really had an effect on me until I became a young adult, and things changed. I started to care what other people thought, and I became very unhappy with who I was because I felt like I didn’t fit in.
So, I started changing to “fit” better into the framework that society had put out there. I started to brush my hair, put on make up and wear the same jeans that every girl in my class was wearing. I started to pretend I didn’t like soccer that much because most girls my age had given up on it. All these changes happened without me even realizing it. I had always been happy with who I was, but for some reason that changed. And with my change came unhappiness that took years to figure out. I had to fight back and find a way to love myself and to be happy again.
Today, I am comfortable with who I am. Today, I can speak up without being scared. Today, I can love a person regardless of their gender. I carry no label and I am comfortable with who I am. It took me a long time to get here.
I want to be a role model for my siblings, for the younger generation, to show them that no matter who they are, they deserve to be comfortable with themselves and happy. Trust me, I am.
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