U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday tweeted his support for the former Nadeshiko Japan striker Kumi Yokoyama, who came out as transgender on Saturday, and Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib, who announced on Monday that he was gay — becoming the first active NFL player to do so.
“To Carl Nassib and Kumi Yokoyama — two prominent, inspiring athletes who came out this week: I’m so proud of your courage,” Biden tweeted from his @POTUS account just after 9 p.m. from the White House. “Because of you, countless kids around the world are seeing themselves in a new light today.”
Yokoyama, who currently plays for the Washington Spirit and previously represented Nadeshiko Japan at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, revealed their intention to live as a man after quitting soccer in a video posted to the YouTube channel of friend and former Nadeshiko teammate Yuki Nagasato.
“In the future when there are others like me, in soccer or in other sports, I hope they’ll be able to say “Well, (Yokoyama) came out so I can come out too,” Yokoyama said in the video.
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.
— President Biden (@POTUS) June 23, 2021
Nassib, who joined the Raiders in 2020 after playing a combined four seasons with the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, said in an Instagram video that “I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get this off my chest.
“I hope one day videos like this and the whole coming out process are not necessary, but until then I’m going to do my best, and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting (and) compassionate,” he added before saying he would donate $100,000 to the Trevor Project, an LGBTQ youth advocacy and suicide prevention group.
The pair joined a small but growing group of athletes who have come out as LGBTQ during their competitive careers.
“Huge respect for @yoko10_official and their bravery in sharing their story so authentically. A powerful and inspiring message,” global soccer player union FIFPRO tweeted on Wednesday.
In an earlier tweet, FIFPRO said of Nassib: “It’s a moment for athletes across sport and genders to be proud of and inspired by, as we keep striving for environments where all players can freely be themselves.”
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