In a story from Michele Steele at ESPN today, it was announced that Harrison Browne, a winger for the Buffalo Beauts of the National Women’s Hockey League will now be recognized as the first openly transgender professional athlete in the league, and likely, the world. Browne, who identifies as a man, contacted the league prior to announcing it, to make sure the NWHL would support his transition.
After the story came out, Browne took to The Ice Garden, an SB Nation blog dedicated to the Beauts, to personally explain the decision. In it, he includes an excerpt from his initial email to Dani Rylan, league commissioner.
I am interested in coming out in the league as transgender. I will not be legally changing my name or beginning a physical transition until after I conclude my career in the NWHL. I will be playing in the exact condition that I did last season, just under a new name while using male pronouns.
I would feel most comfortable being addressed via the media, roster, during games, and any PR as Harrison Browne versus Hailey Browne along with using all male pronouns versus female pronouns.
Rylan immediately extended her full support for Browne, saying that the league would do everything necessary to make Browne’s transition possible. In what is a perfect way to explain and sooth any concerns at the situation, Browne ends the piece with this:
When all is said and done, I’m still Brownie: hockey player, teammate, friend, fan of the game.
The Beauts start their season tonight against the Boston Pride at the HarborCenter in Buffalo.