In a year that featured the Tokyo Olympics, the retirement of legendary yokozuna Hakuho and a long-awaited Japan Series title for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, one of the biggest stories in Japanese sports was that of former Nadeshiko Japan forward Kumi Yokoyama.

News of the 28-year-old’s decision to come out as transgender — through a YouTube video co-hosted by long-time friend and Japan teammate Yuki Nagasato — went viral and was touted by the LGBTQ community as an encouraging sign of growing transgender acceptance across the world and especially in Japan.

“It was beyond my expectations,” Yokoyama, who uses "they/them" and "he/him" pronouns, told The Japan Times in November. “I should say, it’s not that I expected a reaction; it’s that I didn’t think it would become as big as it did.”