So Sato, 25, a deaf and transgender pole vaulter, checks the official information ebook for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Video games at a ebook retailer in Tokyo, Japan July 15, 2021. Image taken July 15, 2021. REUTERS/Issei Kato
July 22, 2021
By Sakura Murakami
UTSUNOMIYA, Japan (Reuters) -So Sato, a transgender pole vaulter, expects to symbolize Japan on the Deaflympics subsequent 12 months in Brazil. However for now, he’s carefully watching Tokyo 2020, the place transgender athletes will compete within the Olympic Video games for the primary time.
Sato, 25, sees the inclusion of New Zealand transgender weightlifter Lauren Hubbard within the Video games as bringing hope to younger folks fighting their identification, one thing he additionally aspires to do.
Greater than 160 https://www.reuters.com/life-style/sports activities/olympics-with-more-lgbtq-athletes-than-ever-games-put-focus-japan-2021-07-22 brazenly lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender and queer athletes are attributable to take part in Tokyo 2020, making this 12 months’s Video games probably the most inclusive ever.
“After I was youthful, there was data on being deaf or transgender, however I couldn’t discover rather a lot on that crossover,” Sato, who was born deaf, instructed Reuters by an indication language translator.
“I hope that youthful individuals who have comparable struggles can see me and really feel safer in the truth that I’m managing okay. True, there are difficulties, however there’s nothing unlucky in any respect about being each deaf and transgender,” he stated.
Sato first questioned his gender identification at 13 and progressively started to establish as a male whereas in his teenagers.
When he was in highschool, he was launched to pole vaulting by a instructor and was quickly hooked by the fun and liberation of hovering above the bottom.
By the point he began college he took on the masculine identify “So” and got here out as transgender.
He had his breasts eliminated at 22 however has not transitioned or had hormone remedy. Though he identifies as male, he’s legally a lady and competes in girls’s competitors.
Competing as a person would require transitioning and hormone remedy and convey different problems, he stated.
“I get blended emotions about it. It simply doesn’t really feel proper to me,” he stated. “If I win within the males’s class, I think about folks will say that I gained as a result of I’m taking hormones.”
INCLUSION AND FAIRNESS
On a sunny day in mid-July, Sato hurtled by the air at a coaching stadium the place he’s making ready for his third Deaflympics. Throughout breaks he shared ideas with different athletes, at instances breaking into laughter.
Sato gained silver in his first Deaflympics in 2013, a 12 months after choosing up the game. He got here house empty-handed in 2017 and is hoping for gold subsequent 12 months, after the occasion, just like the Olympics, was additionally delayed by a 12 months.
Sato gained’t be competing at Tokyo 2020 as deaf athletes sometimes don’t participate within the Paralympics.
The number of Hubbard within the Tokyo Video games has reignited a debate over inclusion and equity in sport. The 43-year-old Kiwi competed in males’s competitions earlier than transitioning in 2013.
In Japan, there had been calls on the federal government to go an LGBT+ equality legislation forward of the Video games to maintain the promise of creating elevated variety one of many legacies of the Olympics.
A invoice was shelved in June attributable to robust opposition amongst conservative lawmakers.
“I hope that Japan can grow to be a bit extra inclusive for all kinds of minorities with the assistance of the Olympics,” Sato stated.
“Though I want we didn’t must rely in any respect on the Olympics for that change.”
(Reporting by Sakura Murakami; Modifying by David Dolan, Michael Perry and Ed Osmond)