U.S. National Women’s Soccer League player Kumi Yokoyama, 27, came out on June 19 as a transgender man.
“I’m coming out now,” the Washington Spirit forward from Japan said in a YouTube video in Japanese. “In the future, I want to quit soccer and live as a man.” The 19-minute video titled “I come out” was posted on the channel of Yokoyama’s former teammate Yuki Nagasato.
President Biden tweeted his support on Tuesday: “To Carl Nassib and Kumi Yokoyama – two prominent, inspiring athletes who came out this week: I’m so proud of your courage. Because of you, countless kids around the world are seeing themselves in a new light today.”
“When my girlfriend said there was no reason for me to stay closeted, it really hit me,” Yokoyama said in the video. “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 were inspired in part by Canadian women’s soccer player Quinn coming out as trans in 2020, who wore a “Protect Trans Kids” sweatshirt publicly: “I realized that it was what taking action looks like. 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.”
Yokoyama’s team expressed their support on Twitter on Saturday: “We support and are so proud of you Kumi. Thank you for showing the world it’s ok to embrace who you are!” They added, “Kumi uses they/them pronouns…and don’t forget it!”
We support and are so proud of you Kumi💙🏳️⚧️Thank you for showing the world it’s ok to embrace who you are! https://t.co/Gi7btIAT7l
— Washington Spirit (@WashSpirit) June 19, 2021
Nagasato, the friend who posted the coming out video, tweeted in English that she has received many requests to add English subtitles to the video and will do so in the future.