37-year-old Karl Lightner, founder and director of the Portland Community Football Club, called everybody in for a team meeting but the students weren’t expecting the turn of events. It wasn’t like one of the usual team meeting as Lightner took the courage to share a personal secret and told his student of a recent coaching trip he took in Washington D.C.
A video of the Portland youth soccer coach has been viewed tens of thousands of times where he was seen revealing to his team that he is transgender.
“One of the things that I realized while I was there is that we ask a lot of you guys to show up and be yourselves and be who you are and get to be better players,” he said in the beginning of the video that was posted earlier this month and has a total views of 67,000.
“I haven’t totally shared with you something about myself that is kind of important that some of you may or may not know.”
Lightner then comes out to his players, “I am transgender and so what that means… is that I was born a girl and so I grew up playing this soccer as a girl.”, then explained the reason behind his decision.
“That’s not something I share with players or people in the sports world very often because it is not an easy thing.”, he said, “We have a lot of rules in sports about how boys play and how girls play and that’s not really fair,”
Lightner shared his struggles while growing up. He had made it clear to his team of students, who are mostly at a young age, that just because he is white, doesn’t mean he had privileges and “cruised through life easily”, then said life was not easy for him as he was struggling with gender identity.
The coach asked his students to be compassionate and to respect each other because no one ever truly knows what a person is going through.