Portland soccer coach comes out as transgender in speech to team

Transgender coach comes out to team

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A video of a Portland soccer coach has gone viral. Not because of something that happened in a game, but because of something he said last week in practice.

Kaig Lightner came out to his team as transgender.

Since it was posted, the Youtube video has been viewed by tens of thousands of people across the world and has put Lightner in the spotlight.

"It's been absolutely a whirlwind of all the media attention,"  he said.

Lightner is the founder and director of the Portland Community Football Club, which gives underprivileged youth in the area the chance to play the often expensive sport of soccer.

In the video, Lightner is talking to a group of his players after practice.

The 36-year-old coach tells the kids since he expects them to be true to themselves, he needs to be true to himself.

"I haven't totally addressed something with you about myself that's kind of important," he said.

He goes on the tell the players that he is transgender.

"That means I was born a girl and I grew up playing soccer as a girl," he said in the video.

In the video you can hear some of the kids giggle.

Lightner said what came after those giggles was overwhelming. Not only did his players throw their support behind him, so did parents.

"It's been amazing the support that I have gotten directly from parents in the club and kids," he said. "They are just as excited to hear about it."

Lightner said although he grew up female playing sports, he never felt like he fit in and was often ridiculed and bullied.

"There was a lot of discrimination… and a lot of name calling," he said.

Lightner transitioned to a male 10 years ago and felt it was time his players, who he considers family, understood his story.

"Now they just know this thing about me,” he said. “It's a much better way to help them understand an identity like mine.”

© 2017 KGW-TV


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