BRAVE referee Sapir Berman has come out as transgender and is set to undergo gender reassignment surgery.
The Israeli official, 26, is in her second season as a top-flight official, having worked her way up her country’s pyramid.
Brave Sapir Berman addressed the media at a press conferenceCredit: AP
Berman, 26, will now begin gender reassignment surgeryCredit: AP
But Berman, whose birth name was ‘Sagi’, will now start officiating games as a woman.
And in a press conference this week, she revealed that she has gratefully received large support from the Israeli football comminuty.
Having begun living publicly as a woman three months ago, Berman told reporters: “I always saw myself as a woman, from a young age.
“I realised society will not accept me, will not be on my side, so I continued like this for nearly 26 years.
“I decided to come out and to show who I am, first of all to myself, for my soul.”
Players have been receptive and respectful, addressing her by the correct pronouns even when moaning about decisions on the field.
And she is grateful for their response, adding: “It shows me there’s change in society.”
The Israeli FA have also done their bit to make Berman feel accepted, taking to social media to release a supportive message.
Berman has refereed in the Israeli top flight for two seasonsCredit: https://www.instagram.com/sapir_berman/?hl=en
Their tweet read: “We have a new Referee, Sapir Berman. The first Referee to be transgender. We are so proud!”
Berman has now been given separate dressing rooms to her male counterparts.
And managing director of Israel’s referees association Jair Teper added: “The gender identity is of no importance to us, what counts is only the skills on the football field.”
Berman isn’t the world’s first transgender referee, with British official Lucy Clark having come out back in 2018.
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