What a way to kick off 2021! Longtime partners Marta and Toni Pressley are getting married, as Marta announced on her instagram. The couple posed lovingly while Toni flashed some ice on her ring finger.
This is simultaneously a huge deal and not a big deal at all, and that’s why it’s a huge deal. There are a lot of out female players right now from multiple countries, but Marta’s name has been synonymous with football for well over a decade. If you ask someone only casually acquainted with woso to name some popular figures, no doubt they’ll toss in Marta. For so many in Brazil and beyond, she is the footballer. And here she is, happily putting up engagement photos with her fiancée.
It wasn’t necessarily the most surprising announcement - if you follow Marta’s social media, she and Pressley clearly have been living together being dog moms in Orlando. But Marta’s sky high profile makes this stand out, not just because soccer royalty is getting married, but for how she announced it without any kind of big coming out, or caveat about how they’ve been private for so long and now she can be open. She just did it. She’s in love and she’s marrying her partner.
It feels like this would have been unimaginable ten, maybe even five, years ago. Players stay in the closet for a variety of reasons, a lot of them societal and systemic. Pride teammates Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris have talked about feeling like they had to hide to protect their jobs and sponsorships. But as more players have come out, the landscape has changed. Players are kissing their girlfriends in the stands during World Cups in front of hundreds of cameras. Marta’s own NT teammate Cristiane got married and is having a baby with her partner. The years when LGBTQ female players went to such great lengths to obscure their identities to the point where even privately whispering about it between individuals felt hushed and taboo - those years grow increasingly distant. Some players still do today, but you get the sense that more and more, it’s coming from a simple desire to remain private rather than out of fear. And that’s what we’ve been striving for, isn’t it? The ability to make our announcements without hesitation or fear and to be celebrated and loved the same as anyone else.
Congrats to Marta and Toni. We’re all raising a socially distanced glass of bubbly for a long and happy marriage.