Award-Winning ESPN Journalist M.A. Voepel Comes out as Transgender: 'Who I've Always Been Inside'

A view of the logo during ESPN The Party on February 5, 2016 in San Francisco, California.
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MA Voepel becomes his authentic self.
Longtime ESPN reporter M.A. Voepel, formerly known as Mechelle Voepel, has come out as transgender. Voepel, 48, shared his announcement on Twitter on Tuesday.
“In sports media, we are fortunate to tell stories about other people's journeys. We have our own too," Voepel wrote. "Part of me is transgender, and I'm becoming male."
The journalist continued by sharing his new name and pronouns: "Byline now M.A. Voepel, pronoun he/him. Please don't hesitate to call me Voepel, MV, Michael, Mike; I'm good with them all."
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Voepel then explained what motivated him to make the switch: receiving this year's Curt Gowdy Media Award from the Naismith Hall of Fame. "I have the great honor of receiving the Gowdy Award from the Naismith Hall of Fame next month and wanted to do so as [my] authentic me, hence the announcement now," he explained. Winners will be honored at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend on September 9-10, according to the NBA.
"Fear can keep us paralyzed for decades, especially when we think we're going to lose everything we hold dear, including our careers..." Voepel wrote.
He continued, “There comes a point when you realize that you have to believe that happiness/wellness is worth pursuing and that you have to believe in the kindness and grace of other people as well. Grateful for a company that supports all of its employees, for great family and friends, and for the advancement of society."
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Voepel has worked for ESPN since 1996 and, according to the outlet, is "the leading authority on women's basketball at both the collegiate and professional ranks."
The journalist added that he was excited for what was to come.
"I might look and sound a little different," he said, "I'm glad to be who I've always been on the inside."
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He ended the series of tweets by saying: "Commitment to women's sport coverage, a lifelong joy and job and admiration for everyone involved - players, coaches, executives, fans, umpires, colleagues - stays exactly the same. Thanks!"
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Sportswriter Joe Posnanski told Voepel, "Couldn't be prouder or happier for my dear friend."
ESPN colleagues Holly Rowe and Alexa Philippou also reacted to the news. "You are LOVED M.A." Rowe tweeted. Philippou added: "Proud to be teammates with you, Voepel!"
ESPN's Kevin Pelton responded to Philippou's tweet message: "I agree and I'm glad you feel supported as you face this well deserved moment after compassionately helping so many athletes tell the stories of their authentic selves."
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When Voepel was announced in February as one of the recipients of the Gowdy Prize, he said he was honored to be recognized.
"I'm very grateful for the honor because helping chart the growth of women's basketball has been such a big part of my life," Voepel told ESPN at the time. "I'm incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to witness this and work with others who also care so much."

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