Brave referee Sapir Berman comes out as transgender and set to undergo gender reassignment surgery

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.

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, she told reporters: "I always saw myself as a woman, from a young age.

"I realized 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 of her… addressing her by the correct pronouns even when moaning about her 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 positive message.

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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