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Washington Spirit's Yokoyama comes out as transgender

·1-min read
File-This July 29, 2018, file photo shows Japan's Kumi Yokoyama (20) during a women's international soccer match in East Hartford, Conn. Yokoyama, a forward for the Washington Spirit of the National Women's Soccer League, has come out as a transgender man. “When my girlfriend said there was no reason for me to stay closeted, it really hit me. 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," she said. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

Kumi Yokoyama, a forward for the Washington Spirit of the National Women's Soccer League, has come out as a transgender man.

Yokoyama, who has also played for Japan's national team, came out in an interview that Racing Louisville striker Yuki Nagasato posted on her YouTube channel.

“When my girlfriend said there was no reason for me to stay closeted, it really hit me. 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," Yokoyama said.

The Washington Spirit said Yokoyama prefers they/them pronouns, and offered support for the 28-year old via the team's Twitter account: “We support and are so proud of you Kumi. Thank you for showing the world it’s ok to embrace who you are!”

Yokoyama previously had top surgery and plans further gender-affirming procedures once their playing career is over.

Yokoyama is not the first NWSL player to come out as transgender. Last year, Quinn, who plays for OL Reign and the Canadian national team, announced on Instagram that they are transgender.

Layshia Clarendon, a guard for the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx who identifies as transgender and nonbinary, publicly shared images of their top surgery on Twitter in January.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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