AFP JACK GUEZ
Sapir Berman, the first transgender wisdom in the Israeli soccer league, led her first game in the first division on Monday, since announcing in late April, changing her name and introducing herself as a female.
The move made Sapir Berman, a 26-year-old who has been refereeing as a man named Sagi Berman, in the Israeli soccer league since 2011, the first transgender wisdom in the league.
Berman went to the floor of the “Sami Ofer” stadium in Haifa on Monday to manage the match that ended with Hapoel Haifa’s 3-1 victory over Betar Jerusalem, amid a mixture of applause and whistles, while one of the fans raised a banner reading “Sapir, we are all with you.”
“I don’t know if I’m a pioneer or the first (wisdom) to do that,” Berman said last month.
She indicated that she had received threats on social media, but that she also received support, especially from her colleagues.
The president of the Israeli Referees Association, Ronit Tiruch, described Sabir Berman as “courageous,” and said that she had started a “historic path of Israeli football.”
Israel applies laws that are among the most permissive with gay communities in the region, and it recognizes gay marriage abroad, but homosexuality remains a taboo in religious Jewish circles.