US President Joe Biden has praised Las Vegas Raiders’ Carl Nassib and Kumi Yokoyama, a forward for the Japan women’s football team, for their courage in coming out as members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Defensive end Nassib became the first active NFL player to come out as gay.
Meanwhile, Washington Spirit forward Yokoyama came out as a transgender man this week.
Biden said they were inspiring “countless kids” and he was “so proud”.
Yokoyama, who was speaking to their former team-mate in a Youtube interview, said: “In the future, I want to quit soccer and live as a man.”
The 27-year-old, who joined the National Women’s Super League club in 2019, said team-mates and friends in the US are more open to gender and sexual diversity than in their home country.
Japan does not have any national legislation protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination.
Transgender people in the country must have their reproductive organs removed to have their gender recognised on official documents, which has been strongly criticised by human rights groups.
“I would not have come out in Japan,” said Yokoyama, who uses they/their pronouns, before thanking their team-mates, friends and girlfriend for their support and courage.