Harrison Browne was known last season as Hailey “Brownie.” But in the current National Women Hockey League championship series, the player is now Harrison, and still “Brownie.” The rising star of the NWHL’s Buffalo Beauts is the first openly transgender athlete in an American professional sports team.

Browne said in an interview in New York City that he identifies as a man, and now that his family is starting to accept it, he decided to go public. Harrison said it is the right time for people to get to know him for who he is. Brown said he wants to hear his name said right when he gets the point or when the screen shows his name.

Harrison Browne
The young from Canada was recruited by the University of Maine to play Division I hockey on scholarship. He graduated in 2014 and first came as a transgender player to his coaches. Brownie said telling them was a critical step toward improving his game. Image credit: ESPN.

Harrison has not made the medical transition yet, nor legally changed his name due to its Visa documents, but that does not mean that he is not planning to do it. Browne wanted to change his sex in the operating room after college but postponed it after the creation of the NWHL in the spring of 2015.

His medical transition could be happening after he finishes playing in the NWHL. Brownie confessed he is in “limbo” as a transgender man playing on a women’s team, but said the fact does not bother him because hockey makes him happy, and he believes people need to be their authentic self to be happy.

He said that when he puts his equipment on, he is a hockey player. Harrison confessed that when he is playing, he does not think about who is he playing with or if he was born in the wrong body. When Harrison is off the ice, he feels comfortable with his friends, when he hears them call him for the name he wants to be called. Browne seems at ease when his social group uses the right pronouns and now can demonstrate his confidence when he is playing.

A landmark on sports, a new future for trans people on the field, and a fresh point of view in a more diverse world

Now that the first trans player has come out, the NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan stated the league is currently working on new policies that include transgender players. The league is accepting Harrison, and the new rules will establish a formal acceptance of trans people on the ice. The commissioner also said that in the end, Harrison is the same player he was last year.

“We are 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,” Ryan was quoted as saying by ESPN.

Source: ESPN