The first WNBA player to come out as trans has gotten top surgery and the whole league is coming together to celebrate.
Layshia Clarendon, who uses he, she, and they, came out as gender nonconforming in 2020, and four years earlier had described themself as “non-cisgender.” Not only is the 29-year-old point guard a leader on the court, but they’re also an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ people and Black lives.
On Friday, Clarendon posted a series of pictures on Instagram showing off the results from their recent top surgery. “On January 13th at 10am I hugged my wife in front of my surgery building, walked in and took a deep breath… The day was finally here. The day I got to have Top Surgery!!!!!” they captioned the post.
“It’s hard to put into words the feeling seeing my chest for the first time free of breasts, seeing my chest the way I’ve always seen it, and feeling a sense of gender euphoria as opposed to gender dysphoria,” she continued, “Sighhhh… freedom… freedom at last.”
Clarendon also shared that they were initially scared to share the news because of the “hate, myths & ignorance” about trans and nonbinary people, but they felt compelled to because “I want trans people to know and see that we’ve always existed & no one can erase us.”
He added, “I want people to remember that my freedom is your freedom because none of us are free until we are all free!”
Clarendon’s team, the New York Liberty, posted a message in support on Twitter. “The Liberty has been and will continue to be an organization that celebrates the individuality of all people. Layshia is a proud embodiment of our belief that our strength lies in our truth and no one should live constrained by society boundaries,” the statement reads. “Layshia’s journey as a pioneering athlete, along with their activism and advocacy work, is an inspiring call for each of us to honor our humanity above all else.”
The WNBPA, the league’s union, also released a statement supporting Clarendon, saying, “with the support of this union, Layshia has shared a personal part of their story with the world, and reminds us that what it means to be human is to be authentic, holistic and inclusive. It is a story that will empower, and remind us that we will not be restrained by the many assumptions and stereotypes that seek to define us as girls or women.”
After the outpouring of support, Clarendon posted on Twitter thanking everyone for the messages. “Wow, so I was not expecting that level of love and support from everyone yesterday,” she said, “I’m overwhelmed in the best possible way! Thank you to everyone who messaged me publicly and privately.”
Congratulations to Clarendon, and thank you for being an inspiration to trans and gender nonconforming people everywhere.