The National Women’s Hockey League has pledged to protect transgender players
The National Women’s Hockey League has pledged to protect transgender players, following the recruitment of the first ever transgender pro athlete.
A policy of inclusion for transgender players was introduced by the league after the athlete, Harrison Browne, was put under scrutiny for his gender identity.
The policy states that “people designated female at birth, regardless of their gender identity are allowed on the women’s team.”
The league “supports athletes choosing to express their gender beyond the binary of female and male.”
NWHL based the policy on the International Olympic Committee’s guidelines, which also specifies that trans people do not require surgery to compete on the team of the gender they identify with.
Browne made his debut as a trans player when he scored a goal and the announcer said his name across the loudspeaker.
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He planned to medically transition after finishing college but put off the decision when the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) was created.
Browne has postponed his full transition until he’s finished playing in the NWHL and is yet to change his name legally because of issues surrounding visa’s.
The future of his career is uncertain, but the star says he is “not closing the door” on playing in male leagues, depending on how his body changes.
Browne spoke about his identity to ESPN: “My family is starting to come to grips with it, now it’s my time to be known as who I am, to be authentic and to hear my name said right when I get a point, or see my name on a website,” he said.
“I’m still the same player, I’m still playing in the body that I did last year, I’m still the same exact person. I’m just a different name and different pronouns, that’s it. I’m still Brownie.”
NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan doesn’t believe Browne’s transition should make a difference either. “At the end of the day, Harrison is the same player he was last year,” she said. “We’re here to support him. It’s really not a big deal when you look at it, we’re respecting his name, the pronouns and his request to be his authentic self.”