Sapir Berman made sports history on Monday, officiating at a soccer match in Israel's Premier League for the first time since coming out as transgender.
"This is the first step in a long and wonderful journey. Sapir, we are proud to do it with you," the Israel Football Association tweeted as she took the field for the contest between Beitar Jerusalem and Hapoel Haifa, which ended with a 3-1 victory to Hapoel Haifa.
At a news conference last Tuesday in which she publicly announced her transition, Berman, at 26 already a top referee in Israel's leading soccer league, said she had always seen herself as a female, even at a young age.
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She told reporters that players had already begun using the feminine form of words in Hebrew when addressing her.
"They really feel that they want to somehow take part in this process and even speak to men when it's not necessary and speak to me as a woman. So thank you," Berman said.
Outside the stadium in the northern city of Haifa, one fan carried a banner that hailed Berman as a "super woman, incredible, brave".
Berman described the past week as "crazy" and said she "receives countless messages. If last week I said I hope there will be a change in society, I see it happening and I'm most happy about it, and it's good that it's happening."
Berman is not the first transgender referee in the soccer world. A British soccer referee, Lucy Clark, came out as transgender in 2018.