Professional Women's Hockey Player Comes Out To Team As a Transgender Man

"Now it's my time to be known as who I am, to be authentic and to hear my name said right." 

Harrison “Brownie” Browne, formerly Hailey Browne, a member of the National Women's Hockey League, has come out as a transgender man.

His letter coming out makes him the first openly trans player on a North American professional sports team, reports ESPN

“To the Staff and Readers of The Ice Garden,

Hey, it’s Brownie—number 24 on the Buffalo Beauts. Congratulations on the launch of this new site. We really appreciate the coverage of our game. I’m sure you hockey fans love it, too.

You may have heard by now that I have some news of my own. Beginning today—the start of the 2016-17 National Women’s Hockey League season—I’m making official what has been part of my life for a few years now. I’m Harrison. I’m a ‘he.’ As in ‘Harrison Browne made a good pass for the primary assist on that goal by the Beauts.’ Or ‘He really lost his check on that one,’ haha.

A few weeks ago, I made an official request to the league. Below is a part of the original email I sent to the NWHL Commissioner, Dani Rylan. I’m sharing it with you so my plan and wishes are clear.

‘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.’

Harrison, from Canada, was recruited on a scholarship by the University of Maine to play Division I hockey. He then made it to the pros. The league’s commissioner has changed Brownie’s pronoun from “she” to “he.”

“At the end of the day, Harrison is the same player he was last year. 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,” the commissioner said. 

In a YouTube video, Harrison revealed he thought he would have to give up hockey in order to transition. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. 

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