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.
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.
Didn’t know TNI could be this supportive, look how happy Aprilia Manganang is 🥺 This also made my day ✨ pic.twitter.com/G0Vr0Cc88M
— Listy | IG: @cloverhoneycenter (@listyeon) March 9, 2021
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.
2015 SEA Games when the Philippines appealed that the hulking athlete Aprilia Manganang should undergo a gender test but they denied it. Dito palang kutob ko na lalaki to but here we go the truth was prevailed. However, I’m still a fan 🙌 Bawi Philippines 🇵🇭 pic.twitter.com/Tz8UEzl4iW
— SUHO MALIIT LANG MALAKAS (@SMaliit) March 10, 2021
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.”
the case of misgendering by birth of Aprilia Manganang just leaves me confused, like how
— Poor Bison (@bison_bintitan) March 9, 2021
If ever man na ma penalize, posible kayang ma ban ang national team ng Indo from volleyball? I mean ilan na bang international tourneys ang nalahukan at nalusutan ng Indo along with Aprilla?
— Emil Heinrik (@emil_heinrik) March 9, 2021
Aren’t you being a little bit carried away? 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.
— Adam (@sadxprt) March 10, 2021