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HomeMoreFootballJapanese women's team striker Kumi Yokoyama comes out as transgender

Japanese women’s team striker Kumi Yokoyama comes out as transgender

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Kumi Yokoyama, who represents Washington Spirits in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), came out as transgender while speaking to former teammate Yuki Nagasato on his YouTube channel.


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The 27-year-old cited the cultural difference in other nations as compared to Japan as one of the major reasons behind the decision to come out. Moreover, Yokoyama was made to realize that it would have been harder to live a closeted life instead.

The player has had surgery seven years ago to remove breast tissue, but had to hold off hormonal treatment as it would have interfered in the doping tests which are a regular occurrence in a footballer’s career.

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Yokoyama fully intends to undergo more gender-oriented procedures once the playing career comes to an end.

The franchise came forward with nothing but support and affirmed that the pronouns to be used are they/them.

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Yokoyama hopes to shed more awareness with the announcement

They represented Japan at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, where the nation was eliminated in the Round of 16 stage by eventual finalists Netherlands.

Yokoyama believed that living in United States and Germany made him more comfortable with himself as he had to live in Japan as a closeted person.

“I’ve dated several women over the years but I had to stay closeted in Japan,” Yokoyama said in the interview, which was translated by the Japan Times.

“In Japan, I’d always be asked if I had a boyfriend, but here (in the U.S.) I’m asked if I have a boyfriend or girlfriend. When my girlfriend said there was no reason for me to stay closeted, it really hit me.

“Coming out wasn’t something I was enthusiastic about, but if I think about my life going forward, it would be harder to live closeted so I found the courage to come out.”

They cited Canada international and OL Reign midfielder Quinn’s decision to come out as a major inspiration. Moreover, Yokoyama aims to raise awareness about the struggles of transgender people in his country, where it is slowly coming up and being accepted.

“(Quinn) wore a (sweatshirt) that said ‘Protect Trans Kids’ before a game, and I realized that’s what taking action looks like,” Yokoyama said.

“Lately the word ‘LGBTQ’ has become more commonly known in Japan and been covered by the media, but people in my position aren’t able to raise our voices and talk about it.

“If all of us speak up together then we can help raise awareness.”

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