Japanese soccer player Kumi Yokoyama’s announcement that they are transgender has earned praise and commendation from President Joe Biden.
Coming out proud: The 27-year-old forward, who plays for the Washington Spirit in the National Women’s Soccer League, came out as a transgender man on June 19 via a YouTube video.
- “I’m coming out now,” Yokoyama said in a video from former teammate Yuki Nagasato’s YouTube channel as translated by the Japan Times. “In the future, I want to quit soccer and live as a man.”
- Yokoyama said their teammates in the U.S. made them more comfortable with their own gender identity due to their openness to gender diversity.
- In Japan, transgender people are allowed to change their legal gender but comes with a lengthy legal recognition process, according to Human Rights Watch.
- To have their gender recognized on official documents, transgender people must have their reproductive organs removed.
- Yokoyama said they “would not have come out in Japan” due to the reported lack of support and awareness about the LGBTQ community.
Congratulatory tweet: President Joe Biden took to Twitter to praise Yokoyama and Carl Nassib, the first active NFL player to come out as gay, for coming out and serving as inspiration for others, reported the Associated Press.
- Biden wrote: “To Carl Nassib and Kumi Yokoyama – two prominent, inspiring athletes who came out this week: I’m so proud of your courage. Because of you, countless kids around the world are seeing themselves in a new light today.”
- Yokoyama’s team, the Spirit, also expressed its support and pride for Yokoyama. “Thank you for showing the world it’s ok to embrace who you are!” the team tweeted.
Yokoyama, who played for Japan at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, moved to the Washington Spirit in December 2019.