Longtime ESPN Journalist Comes Out as Transgender

MA Voepel says his dedication to covering women's sports is unchanged
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2022 4:55 AM CDT
ESPN Journalist Voepel Comes Out as Transgender
Voepel joined ESPN in 1996 after working at newspapers in Missouri and Virginia.   (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, FIle)

(Newser) – ESPN journalist MA Voepel, described by the network as "the foremost authority on women's basketball in both the collegiate and professional ranks," has come out as transgender. "In sports media, we're lucky to tell stories of others’ journeys," Voepel tweeted. "We have our own, too. Part of mine is being transgender, and I'm transitioning to male. Byline now M.A. Voepel, pronouns he/him. Please feel free to call me Voepel, MV, Michael, Mike; I’m good with them all." Voepel, 48, was formerly known as Mechelle Voepel.

He said he was inspired to make the announcement this week because he is receiving the Naismith Hall of Fame's Curt Gowdy Media Award next month and wanted to accept the honor as his "genuine self," People reports. Voepel joined ESPN in 1996 as a women’s college and pro basketball writer and has also covered other college sports, the New York Daily News reports. "Fear can keep us paralyzed for decades, especially when we think we will lose all that is dear to us, including career," Voepel wrote," but "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."

Voepel said he is grateful for a "company that supports all of its employees, for terrific family and friends, and for societal progress." "I may look and sound a little different," he wrote. "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." (Read more transgender stories.)

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