Years ago, Go Shindo used to dream of becoming a teacher or a firefighter.
But as she struggled with her gender identity, bullying by university classmates and despair brought on by social discrimination, there was a time when she lost herself to alcohol and even contemplated suicide.
Now, the 26-year-old, with the world women’s boxing flyweight title under her belt, no longer tries to hide or look away from the problems she faces. While no easy feat, Shindo has gone public with her situation and hopes that others also suffering from gender identity disorder can find comfort and courage through her.
Shindo, whose name remains Megumi Hashimoto on her family registry, spent her early childhood playing with boys, running around wearing shorts passed on from her brother. At first, Shindo was hesitant as she still wanted to become a firefighter. It was her father Koichiro, 58, who gave her the decisive push.
“You truly shine when you’re playing sports,” he said. “Should I continue women’s boxing like this?” she wondered for a time and considered the possibility of changing her sex in the family registry. When Shindo consulted a psychiatrist, he gave her the following advice: “You are shining bright and at your best.”