On Tuesday, President Joe Biden sent a tweet in support of two athletes that came out this week — Carl Nassib and Kumi Yokoyama — saying he’s “proud” of their courage. 

“To Carl Nassib and Kumi Yokoyama – two prominent, inspiring athletes who came out this week: I’m so proud of your courage,” Biden wrote in a tweet. “Because of you, countless kids around the world are seeing themselves in a new light today.”

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 — a defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders — became the first active NFL player to announce that he was gay in an Instagram post on Monday

“What’s up, people?” Nassib posted on Instagram. “I’m at my house in West Chester, Pennsylvania. I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now but finally feel comfortable getting it off my chest. I really have the best life, I have the best family, friends and job a guy can ask for.”

“I’m a pretty private person, so I hope you guys know that I’m not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important. I actually hope that one day, videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary. But until then, I will do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting and compassionate, and I’m going to start by donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project. They’re an incredible organization, they’re the number-one suicide prevention service for LGBTQ youth in America and they’re truly doing incredible things. I’m very excited to be a part of it and help in any way that I can and I’m really pumped to see what the future holds.”

On Tuesday, The Daily Wire reported that Nassib had the top-selling jersey on the Fanatics platform. Many within the sports community came out in support of Nassib, including Warren Moon, who was the first black quarterback elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

“Really proud of Carl Nassib,” Moon wrote on Twitter. “The first active football player to ever do so. I played with several guys who never were comfortable enough to go public. They were great teammates, & obviously very talented.”

Really proud of Carl Nassib. The first active football player to ever do so. I played with several guys who never were comfortable enough to go public. They were great teammates, & obviously very talented.

— Warren Moon (@WMoon1) June 22, 2021

 

On Tuesday, a member of Japan’s women’s national team — Kumi Yokoyama — came out as a transgender man. Yokoyama played for Japan in the 2019 World Cup and said she was encouraged to come out after living in Germany and the United States. 

“I’ve dated several women over the years but I had to stay closeted in Japan,” Yokoyama said. “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.”

Biden has a checkered history when it comes to the topic of gay rights. 

According to The Daily Wire, Biden voted to cut off funding for schools that taught the acceptance of homosexuality in 1994 and voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. In 2006, Biden confirmed his position that “marriage is between a man and a woman.”

Biden and his administrations’ advocacy for transgender participation in sports come at a time when multiple states across the country have signed laws protecting the rights of girls and women competing in athletics. In June, Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law — the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” — which prohibits biological men from competing against female athletes.

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