Harrison Browne’s name appeared on the National Women's Hockey League’s Buffalo Beauts roster this week.
His website bio makes no mention as to why that is a significant event for LBGT acceptance in athletics. Maybe it’s because it was a statement in itself for Browne, who becomes the first openly transgender athlete to compete in a professional North American team sport.
“I identify as a man," Browne told ESPNW. "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."
Browne, 23, re-signed with the Beauts in the offseason after he netted 12 points and tied for the team lead in penalty minutes in the NWHL’s first season of existence.
Browne told ESPNW that he had planned to undergo gender reassignment surgery after he concluded his college career on the University of Maine women's hockey team. Then the formation of the NWHL was announced.
Browne told ESPNW that he’s felt like he’s been in “limbo” ever since.
"You have to be your authentic self to be happy," Browne said.
Competing as a man in a women’s league means he won’t begin the medical transition process, which includes testosterone treatments that could put him violation of the NWHL’s doping policy.
"We're here to support him," NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan told ESPNW. "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."
USA TODAY Sports