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Longtime ESPN reporter M.A. Voepel comes out as transgender

Longtime ESPN reporter Mechelle Voepel has announced a transition from female to male, and a new name: M.A. Voepel.

“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 tweeted 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.

“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. Fear can keep us paralyzed for decades, especially when we think we will lose all that is dear to us, including career.”

Voepel first joined ESPN in 1996, covering women’s basketball, the WNBA and later volleyball.

“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. Grateful for a company that supports all of its employees, for terrific family and friends, and for societal progress,” Voepel continued.

“I may look and sound a little different. Glad to be who I’ve always been inside. 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!”

The announcement was met with much affirmation from friends and colleagues.

“Could not be more proud or happier for my dear friend,” tweeted longtime sportswriter Joe Posnanski.

Tweeted ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe: “You are LOVED M.A.”

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