Japanese Girls’s World Cup star Kumi Yokoyama has come out as a transgender man — one of many few athletes to take action in a rustic the place LGBTQ rights lag behind different developed nations.
Yokoyama, who represented Japan on the 2019 Girls’s World Cup and at the moment performs for Nationwide Girls’s Soccer League facet Washington Spirit, stated dwelling in america made it simpler to be “open” about sexuality and gender.
“Lately, the time period LGBTQ has develop into acquainted in Japan, and also you see it within the media these days,” stated the 27-year-old footballer.
“However I believed that if folks in my place did not converse up, issues would not progress.”
Yokoyama’s message was posted on the YouTube channel of former Japan teammate Yuki Nagasato — a World Cup winner in 2011.
Yokoyama, who needs to be referred by the gender-neutral pronouns “they” and “them”, had a breast-removal operation on the age of 20.
They intend to have additional gender reassignment surgical procedure after they’ve retired from taking part in.
The ahead stated there was strain to evolve to gender norms in Japan, however there was much less discrimination in america and Germany, the place Yokoyama beforehand performed for Frankfurt.
“In Japan, you are all the time requested ‘do you’ve a boyfriend?’, however right here it is regular to ask ‘do you favor males or girls’,” Yokoyama stated.
“I hid it from my teammates at first, however they informed me it was uncool to cover it, and that I did not must.”
Yokoyama discovered help from Washington Spirit, who tweeted: “We help and are so happy with you Kumi. Thanks for exhibiting the world it is OK to embrace who you might be!”
On Monday, New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was chosen as the primary transgender Olympic athlete.
Hubbard, 43, who transitioned to feminine in her 30s, met all of the qualification standards for transgender athletes.