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16 Mar, 2021 17:15

Debate breaks out after Indonesian women’s volleyball star confirmed to be a MAN

Debate breaks out after Indonesian women’s volleyball star confirmed to be a MAN

One of Indonesia’s top female volleyball players, Aprilia Manganang, has been confirmed as biologically male, sparking debate online over what that meant for her team's previous performances.

The news was announced last week after the 28-year-old underwent surgery in Jakarta.

READ MORE: ‘It sends a clear message that our daughters’ rights are worth fighting for’: New rules on transgender athletes passed in US state

During a press conference held by the Chief of Army Staff (KSAD) General Andika Perkasa, the former athlete admitted he was happy to be legally recognized as male.

"This is a moment that I have been waiting for, very happy. Praise the Lord Jesus, I can pass this and I am grateful that God used you and my mother to meet me," he said.

Previously, the Army Chief  explained that Aprilia was not transgender, as he was male since birth, but experienced a medical disorder called hypospadias, which is a genital deformity experienced by male babies.

He also said that Aprilia's condition was only recently discovered, when he was summoned to undergo a medical examination at the Gatot Subroto Army Hospital where urological and hormonal tests confirmed that he was a man.

The former volleyball pro underwent corrective surgery and will also have his documents changed regarding his new gender status.

The former player had represented Indonesia on its female volleyball team before retiring in 2020 and joining the army.

Aprilia’s gender status has long been the topic of debate, as the player's masculine body often stood out from other female players, with opponents constantly questioning the athlete’s sex.

At the 2015 SEA Games the Philippines' team called on the organizers to conduct a gender test, but their appeal was rejected, with Aprilia insisting he was female.

The revelation triggered debate on social media, with some users even calling on international volleyball authorities to ban the Indonesian squad, who had supposedly benefitted from an unfair advantage over the years with a biological man competing against women.

Others, however, dismissed those suggestions. One person wrote: "It's a rare body condition he's been suffering since he was born. Really? a ban for a country from International volleyball? I know it's unfair, but penalizing or nullification is more suited in this case."