Aprilia Manganang, a former player for the Indonesia women’s volleyball team, made headlines this week after several media outlets reported that he is now legally recognised as a man.
For the uninitiated, Aprilia, who had been serving in the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) since 2016, retired from the sports in 2020. He previously sparked controversy during the 2015 SEA Games over his bulky appearance. Due to this, the Philippines (the competing team) appealed for him to undergo a test to determine his real gender.
After years of being raised as a girl, Aprilia has been legally confirmed as male after the medical team found out he was born with a rare condition known as hypospadias. This was confirmed by TNI’s Chief Of Staff, General Andika Prakasa, after receiving the results of a medical test conducted by Aprilia back on 3rd February 2021. The results also showed that Aprilia has more male organs in his body. The levels of the male hormone testosterone were also found to be higher in his body.
Following that, Aprilia revealed that he felt relieved now that he is officially recognised as a man, after 28 years of ‘fighting’ as a lady. “This is a moment I’ve been waiting for. I am so happy. I am grateful to all of the doctors who have helped me,” the Jakarta-born soldier said during a press conference held on Wednesday (11th March). During the session, he also announced that he has completed the first of several phases of his corrective surgery.
At the same time, Andi also emphasised that Aprilia is not a trans. Instead, he clarified that the former athlete has been suffering from the aforementioned birth defect. Due to limited medical equipment at the time, Aprilia was identified as possessing a female genitalia based on his physical characteristics. He also didn’t undergo any further examinations due to his family’s financial problems.
The army official further added that the military force urged the sergeant to undergo the sex reassignment operation, reported Coconuts Jakarta. They also agreed to amend all of his civil documents in order to legally recognise him as a man.
The news was met with widespread reactions left by netizens on social media. In this case, most of them were largely supportive of Aprilia. Not only that, there were also some who sympathised with him, especially considering the challenges and setbacks he had to go through in his life previously.
For the record, Aprilia and his team won gold medals for his country Indonesia at the 2013 and 2015 SEA Games. During the 2019 SEA Games, however, he suffered a severe knee injury and this forced him to hang up his boots and focus on the military instead.