Japan striker Kumi Yokoyama has come out as a transgender man in a powerful video clip shared online.
The 27-year-old has been a star player for club and country down the years, and this news will no doubt have come as a shock to some fans.
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However, it’s also so important for young LGBTQ+ people who may be struggling to see big names like Yokoyama making the brave decision to come out.
You can see the video below, which has English subtitles, as Yokoyama speaks about being encouraged by their girlfriend to go public on this…
This follows Carl Nassib becoming the first openly gay NFL player this week, and it comes at a time when we cannot underestimate the threat to equality around the globe.
Hungary have passed anti-LGBTQ+ laws and their influence has seen homophobic messaging at some games in Euro 2020 this summer, as well as UEFA stepping in to ban Germany’s stadium in Munich lighting up in rainbow colours.
US president Joe Biden tweeted about these high-profile moves, saying: “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.”