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Washington Spirit’s Kumi Yokoyama comes out as transgender

Roy K. Miller/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Washington Spirit and Japan forward Kumi Yokoyama came out as a transgender man on Sunday. 

In a video posted to Yuki Nagasato’s YouTube channel on Sunday, Yokoyama said they were encouraged to tell their story after spending time living in the United States and Germany. 

Soon after, the Washington Spirit posted in support on Twitter.

A member of Japan’s 2019 World Cup team, the 28-year-old revealed in the video that they had undergone top surgery at the age of 20 and will have further surgeries upon retirement from playing. 

“Coming out wasn’t something I was enthusiastic about,” Yokoyama, who uses they/them pronouns, said in the video. “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 added that seeing Canada and OL Reign midfielder Quinn tell their story also encouraged them to come out. 

“[Quinn] wore a [sweatshirt] that said ‘Protect Trans Kids’ before a game, and I realised that it was what taking action looks like,” Yokoyama said. “To be able to accept people you have no relationship with, that’s the kind of person I would like to become and I hope we can create that society.”