UTSUNOMIYA, Japan, 22 July (Hfrance.fr) - So Sato, a transgender pole vaulter, hopes to represent Japan at the Deaflympics next year in Brazil. But for now, he is keeping a close eye on Tokyo 2020, where transgender athletes will compete for the first time. times at the Olympics.
Sato, 25, sees the inclusion of New Zealand transgender weightlifter Lauren Hubbard in the Games as bringing benefits hope to young people struggling withec their identity, which he also aspires to do.
Over 160 openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer athletes are scheduled to participate in Tokyo 2020, making This year's most inclusive games ever.
"When I was younger there was information about the fact of be deaf or transgender, but I didn 't find much about this cross "Sato, born deaf, told Hfrance.fr via a sign language translator.
"I hope that younger people who have similar difficulties can see me and feel more secure that I am doing well. Certainly there are difficulties , but there is nothing unfortunate about being both deaf and transgender, "he said.
Sato first questioned her gender. identity at 13 and gradually began to identify as a male during his teenage years.
When he was in high school he was introduced to jumping pole vaulted by a teacher and was quickly captivated by the thrill and release of hovering above the ground.
By the time he started l 'college, he took the male name "So " and came out as transgender.
He had his breasts removed at 22 years old but has not transitioned or taken hormone therapy. Although he identifies himself as a man, he is legally a woman and participates in women's competitions
The competition as a man would require transition and hormone therapy and lead to further complications, he said.
So Sato, 25, a deaf and transgender pole vaulter, communicates with other deaf athletes using sign language during their training camp in Utsunomiya, north of Tokyo, Japan, July 10, 2021. Photo taken July 10, 2021. Hfrance.fr/Issei Kato
"J have mixed feelings about this. It just doesn't feel right to me, "he said. " If I win in the men's category, I imagine people will say I won because I take hormones. " "
INCLUSION AND EQUITY
On a sunny day in mid-July, Sato flew into the air in a training stadium where he is preparing for his third Deaflympics. During breaks he would share tips with other athletes, sometimes breaking out into laughter.
Sato won silver in his first Deaflympics in 2013, a year after returning to the sport. He came home empty-handed in 2017 and hopes to clinch gold next year, after the event, like the Olympics, was also delayed by a year.
Sato will not participate in Tokyo 2020 because deaf athletes generally do not participate in the Paralympic Games.
The selection from Hubbard to the Tokyo Games reignited a debate on inclusion and equity in sport. The 43-year-old Kiwi competed in men's competitions before making the switch in 2013.
In Japan, there have been calls for the government to pass a pre-Games LGBT + Equality Act to deliver on the pledge to make
A bill was dropped in June due to strong opposition among conservative lawmakers.
"I hope that Japan can become a little more inclusive for all kinds of minorities with the help of the Olympics, " Sato says.
"Although I wish we didn 't have to rely on the Olympics for this change at all. Report by Sakura Murakami; Edited by David Dolan, Michael Perry and Ed Osmond
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