Washington Spirit forward and Japan’s female international player Kumi Yokoyama have emerged as a transgender man.
The player made the announcement through a video interview published on the YouTube channel for former teammate Yuki Nagasato.
“I’ve met several women over the years but I had to stay in Japan,” the NWSL player said during the interview. “In Japan, I would always be asked if I had a boyfriend, but here [in the United States] I’m asked if I have a boyfriend or girlfriend.
“When my girlfriend said there was no reason for me to stay in the closet, it really struck me. Getting out was not something I was enthusiastic about, but if I think about my life in the future, it would be harder to live in the closet,” so I found the courage to come out. “
During the interview, Yokoyama shared that they use the preferred pronouns they / their. The Washington Spirit player also shared that living in the United States and Germany made them feel more comfortable coming out and sharing their identity with the world.
“Recently, the word ‘LGBTQ’ has become more well-known in Japan and covered by the media, but people in my position cannot raise our voices and talk about it,” Yokoyama said.
“Japan may be a small country, but if we all talk together, we can help raise awareness.”
The 27-year-old announced that they had undergone a “top operation” at the age of 20 to remove breast tissue and will continue to perform further gender-confirming operations when they officially retire from professional football.
We support and are so proud of you Kumi ?? ️⚧️Thank you for showing the world that it’s ok to embrace who you are! https://t.co/Gi7btIAT7l
– Washington Spirit (@WashSpirit) June 19, 2021
Washington Spirit responded to the tweet Yokoyama shared about the announcement, adding: “We support and are so proud of you Kumi, thank you for showing the world that it’s ok to embrace who you are!”
Yokoyama first joined Spirit 2019 and helped the team in the national women’s football league.