Japanese soccer participant Kumi Yokoyama stated they’re transgender — a revelation praised within the U.S. the place they play within the Nationwide Ladies’s Soccer League however an id not legally acknowledged in Japan.
The 27-year-old ahead for the Washington Spirit stated they felt extra comfy with their very own gender id whereas residing in america, the place teammates and pals are extra open to gender and sexual range.
“I am popping out now,” Yokoyama stated in a video discuss on former teammate Yuki Nagasato’s YouTube channel.
“Sooner or later, I wish to stop soccer and reside as a person.” Yokoyama’s revelation was praised by President Joe Biden.
“To Carl Nassib and Kumi Yokoyama – two distinguished, inspiring athletes who got here out this week: I am so happy with your braveness. Due to you, numerous children all over the world are seeing themselves in a brand new gentle at this time,” Biden tweeted. Nassib is the primary lively NFL participant to come back out as homosexual.
Help and consciousness of gender and sexual range has slowly grown in Japan, however LGBTQ individuals lack many authorized protections and infrequently endure discrimination, inflicting many to cover their sexual identities. An equality regulation pushed by rights teams was scrapped just lately attributable to opposition from the conservative ruling social gathering.
Transgender individuals in Japan additionally will need to have their reproductive organs eliminated to have their gender acknowledged on official paperwork — a requirement that human rights and medical teams criticize as inhuman and pointless and say ought to finish.
Yokoyama stated they weren’t smitten by popping out nevertheless it was a alternative made whereas enthusiastic about the longer term and that it could be more durable to reside closeted.
“I might not have come out in Japan,” they stated.
They thanked their teammates, pals and girlfriend for his or her assist and braveness.
Yokoyama performed for Japan on the 2019 Ladies’s World Cup in France and moved from Japanese membership AC Nagano Parceiro to the Washington Spirit.
Yokoyama stated they felt a robust stress to evolve and stay closeted in Japan however hoped to reside as a person after retiring as an expert soccer participant and to assist increase consciousness for sexual minorities in Japan.
“Extra individuals in Japan have gotten acquainted with the phrase LGBTQ and it is seen extra (within the media), however I believe consciousness will not develop until individuals like myself come out and lift our voices,” Yokoyama stated.