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Sports journalist comes out as transgender to receive award as ‘authentic self’

"Fear can keep us paralyzed for decades, especially when we think we will lose all that is dear to us, including career."
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Veteran sports journalist M.A Voepel came out as a transgender man, stating that he made the announcement to receive a prestigious journalism award as his “authentic self.”

“In sports media, we’re lucky to tell stories of others’ journeys. We have our own, too. Part of mine is being transgender, and I’m transitioning to male,” Voepel wrote in a Twitter thread on Tuesday. “Byline now M.A. Voepel, pronouns he/him. Please feel free to call me Voepel, MV, Michael, Mike; I’m good with them all” 

Voepel also shared in his thread that he wanted to publicly come out before receiving the Curt Gowdy Print Media Award at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony next month, saying that having faith in “your happiness/well-being is worth pursuing.” 

“I have the great honor of receiving Gowdy Award next month from Naismith Hall of Fame, and wanted to do that as authentic self, hence this announcement now,” he wrote.

The Curt Gowdy Media Award, first awarded in 1990, goes out to those media members who have made contributions to the game of basketball. Past recipients include ESPN personalities Michael Wilbon, Mike Breen, retired sports journalist Jackie MacMullan, and former play-by-play commentator Marv Albert. 

“Fear can keep us paralyzed for decades, especially when we think we will lose all that is dear to us, including career,” Voepel wrote in his thread. “At some point, you realize you need to have faith that your happiness/well-being is worth pursuing, and also have faith in other people’s kindness and grace.” 

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Voepel, who is a women’s sports writer for ESPN, concluded his thread by thanking his colleagues, his employer, family and friends for their support. 

“I may look and sound a little different. Glad to be who I’ve always been inside,” Voepel added. “Dedication to covering women’s sports, a lifelong joy as well as job, and admiration for all involved – players, coaches, execs, fans, referees, colleagues – that stays exactly the same. Thanks!”