President Joe Biden praised his revelation. He tweeted, “Two talented players like Carl Nassib and Kumi Yokoyama showed immense courage. Because of you, countless children around the world have seen a new ray of light.
Thank you very much https://t.co/Sx088EURck
— Kumi Yokoyama/横山 (@yoko10_official) June 23, 2021
Awareness of gender and sexual diversity is slowly growing in Japan, but LGBTQ people lack legal protections from which most hide their sexual identity. He was often discriminated against. Yokoyama said he wasn’t excited about revealing himself, but it was his only option considering the future and it would be difficult to live in secret like this.
He thanked his teammates, friends and girlfriend for their support and courage. Yokoyama played for Japan at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France and moved to the Washington Spirit from Japanese club AC Nagano Perseiro. Yokoyama said he felt pressure to stay in Japan and thus hide his identity, but wanted to retire as a professional soccer player and help raise awareness for sexual minorities in Japan.
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Tags: Japanese football players, Kumi Yokoyama, Kumi Yokoyama is transgender
First Published: June 24, 2021, 04:00 IST