Jakarta. Former Indonesian top female volleyball player Aprilia Santini Manganang burst into tears on Friday after a district court accepted his petition for a change of gender and name.
He is now called Aprilio Perkasa Manganang and his birth certificate shall be amended to recognize the gender change, according to the verdict issued by the Tondano District Court in Minahasa, North Sulawesi province.
Now serving as a second sergeant with the Army, Aprilia was following the hearing through a video conference at the Army headquarters in Central Jakarta.
Presiding Judge Nova Loura Sasube also ordered the civil registration office to accommodate replacement in birth certificate, identification card and family documents to reflect changes in his gender and name.
“Thank you, Your Honor. Hopefully this will serve as a good starting point for my future, a new start I have been longing in my life," Aprilia said.
"I’m so grateful I finally get through this and from now on I will focus on my job as an Army soldier, wherever I’m assigned at.”
Upon hearing the verdict, Army Chief of Staff General Andika Perkasa and his wife stood up and remove his name tag for a new one that reads “Perkasa”, which means mighty in Indonesian language.
Andika was instrumental in this life-changing moment for Aprilia. The general instructed the Gatot Soebroto Army Hospital to conduct a thorough urological and hormonal checkup and it was immediately confirmed that Aprilia is in fact a man.
Aprilia was born a boy 28 years and 11 months ago with abnormality called hypospadias -- the opening of the urethra is not located at the tip of the penis, making it difficult to urinate while standing like a normal man.
That might have led Aprilia’s parents to believe that he was a girl and he grew up with that mistaken belief.
Andika has said the Indonesian Military intends to provide all the support for Aprilia, who has repeatedly acknowledged that he felt something wrong with his body and that he was different from all other women.
Aprilia has undergone two corrective surgeries at the army hospital before filing the petition to the court in his hometown.
“The surgeries should have been conducted long time ago when he was a toddler, but he has somehow lived with that condition for 28 years,” hospital head Budi Sulistya said.
He said the medical team involved 15 doctors including a psychiatrist.
Aprilia has sparked controversy during international competitions before with rivaling teams raising suspicion about his gender judged by his physical appearance.
After winning national volleyball competition Proliga with Popsivo team in 2018 and joined a Thai club for a brief tournament in the following year, he resigned from the sport last year to focus on a new career with the Army.
Aprilia also was included in the national team during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.
The National Volleyball Association shares the idea that it was not his fault to have been listed as a female player and confirmed it won’t strip the titles he has won.