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Japanese football player Yokoyama comes out

Author: Yamaguchi Mari
Associated Press

Tokyo (Associated Press)-Japanese football player Yokoyama Kakuno said they are transgender-this news was praised in the United States, they participated in the National Women’s Football League, but this status is not legally recognized in Japan.

The 27-year-old Washington Spirit forward said that they feel more comfortable with their gender identity while living in the United States, where teammates and friends are more open to gender and gender diversity.

“I’m out now,” Yokoyama said in a video conversation on the YouTube channel of former teammate Yuki Nagasato. “In the future, I want to quit football and live like a man.”

Yokoyama’s revelation was praised by President Joe Biden.

“To Carl Nassib and Yokoyama to the United States-two outstanding and inspiring athletes: I am proud of your courage. Because of you, countless children all over the world see themselves in a whole new light today,” Biden said. Wrote on Twitter. Nassib is the first NFL player to appear gay.

The spirit also expresses the team’s support and pride for Hengshan.

“Thank you for showing the world that it’s okay to embrace yourself!” The team tweeted, adding that players use their/their pronouns.

Japan’s support for and awareness of gender and sexual diversity is slowly growing, but LGBTQ people lack many legal protections and often suffer discrimination, leading many people to hide their sexual identities. Due to opposition from the ruling Conservative Party, a recent equality law promoted by rights groups was repealed.

Transgender people in Japan must also have their reproductive organs removed in order to recognize their gender in official documents-human rights and medical groups criticized this as inhumane and unnecessary, and said this requirement should be ended.

In a society where the pressure of herding is very high, the disclosure of LGBTQ gender identity is rare, especially in sports. Rights activists say that due to its gender specificity, it is still unfriendly to LGBTQ people.

Yokoyama said that they are not enthusiastic about coming out, but this is a choice made when considering the future, and coming out will be more difficult.

“I will not come out in Japan,” they said.

They thanked their teammates, friends and girlfriends for their support and courage.

Yokoyama played for the Japanese team at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France and moved from the Japanese club AC Nagano Parceiro to the Washington Spirit.

Yokoyama said that they felt the tremendous pressure to comply and maintain the closure in Japan, but hope to live as men after retiring as professional football players and help raise awareness of sexual minorities in Japan.

“More and more people in Japan are becoming familiar with the term LGBTQ, and (in the media) they see it more often, but I don’t think unless people like me step up to raise our voice, awareness will not increase. ,” Yokoyama said.

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