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21st Jun 2021

Top Japanese footballer Kumi Yokoyama comes out as trans

Kieran Galpin

Happy Pride to Yokoyama!

Top Japanese footballer Yokoyama has come out as trans, and during pride month as well! Yokoyama has scored 17 goals in 43 international appearances and performed particularly well with Japan’s National Team in the 2019 women’s FIFA world cup. Afterwards, they played for Washington Spirit.

The 27-year-old football star came out in a video alongside Yuki Nagasato. Nagasato is a friend and former teammate of Yokoyama, who has a flourishing Youtube channel.

The striker said they had top surgery after turning twenty, and fully intends to undergo further surgery after their football career comes to an end.

The Japan Times translated the video for its readership.

“I’ve dated several women over the years but I had to stay closeted in Japan. In Japan, I’d always be asked if I had a boyfriend, but here [in the United States] I’m asked if I have a boyfriend or girlfriend.

“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.”

“More people in Japan are becoming familiar with the acronym LGBTQ and it’s seen more [in the media], but I thought if influential people like myself don’t come out and use their voices [awareness and acceptance] won’t grow,” says Yokoyama.

Though Japan is relatively progressive compared to other parts of Asia. The majority of people think the LGBTQ community should be fully accepted by society, and Yokoyama’s immense display of Pride will surely aid in that progression.

“I never saw myself as a girl, so I hated puberty. When I reached adulthood, I thought I’d maybe play soccer for another one or two years, so after that season ended I had my breasts removed,” they explained.

“Normally you can’t have it unless you’re receiving hormones, but my doctor understood my situation. I would have been caught by doping tests if I was on hormones, so I just had the top surgery.”

What is top surgery?

Top surgery is a medical procedure that many Trans identifying people choose to undergo. It involves reshaping and removing breast tissue to give a more masculine shape to the torso area. It is important to mention that surgery does not make a person Trans, and in fact, it is based on individual choice and motives. Some people choose never to undergo surgery at all, but that doesn’t negate their transness.

“To be able to accept people you have no relationship with, that’s the kind of person I’d like to become and I hope we can create that society,” concludes Yokoyama.

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