By K.C. Wang-Daniels (She, Her, Hers)
When the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association (IGLFA) recently announced its partnership with Los Dogos and the Argentine Football Association (AFA) I got really excited. As a huge soccer fan I was excited to learn that the AFA backed an LGBTQ+ friendly futbol (soccer) club. I got even more excited when I found out that IGLFA was planning on holding its outdoor World Championship in Argentina in 2024.
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That excitement drove me to learn more about the AFA and Argentine players. Of course, I knew all about my favorite Argentina national footballer, Lionel Messi, but I wanted to check out some women players. In my research I found Lorena Benitez. When I checked out her Instagram page I discovered much more than an athlete. I also discovered a partner and a mother.
Her social media stats are impressive. With nearly 100,000 Instagram followers, Benitez is certainly a social media influencer. But what impressed me the most were the stories her photos told. They tell a story of an out athlete with power, strength and agility. A strong woman. Also, a sensitive, caring mother. A loving partner.
What drew me to Benitez was the fact that she is an openly gay female player. Being out in women’s sports can be complicated, especially in countries like Argentina. But it is becoming easier, thanks to athletes like Benitez. She is currently a midfielder for Boca Juniors and the Argentina women’s national foot team. She also plays on the Argentina women’s national futsal team—an indoor sport similar to soccer. Before doing my research on Benitez I had not heard of futsal before.
Benitez’s timing is perfect. The AFA is investing in women’s sports. Last year the Argentina women’s national football team played at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. And just this year the AFA announced a plan to develop a women’s professional premier league. Even during the pandemic the AFA wants to be sure to continue its bold plan to enhance women’s football.
I highly recommend you visit Benitez’s Instagram page (@benitz.lorena4) and get a glimpse into her life. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In Benitez’s case a picture is worth a lot more.