Harrison Browne is First Openly Transgender Athlete on U.S. Pro Sports Team

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Harrison Browne was part of history last year as a member of the Buffalo Beauts, one of four teams competing in the inaugural season of the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL).

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“I identify as a man,” Browne said in an interview in New York City, before catching a flight to make practice in western New York. “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, a former junior circuit player from Canada, was recruited by the University of Maine to play Division I hockey on scholarship, and graduated in 2014.

It was at Maine where Browne first identified himself privately to coaches as transgender — a step that he credits today with improving his game.

“On the ice, when I put that equipment on, I’m a hockey player. I don’t think about who I’m playing with, I don’t think I’m playing with women. I don’t think I’m in the wrong body,” he said.

“Off the ice, I felt more comfortable having my friends call me what I wanted to be called, referring to me with the pronouns that I wanted. If anything, my product on the ice was let loose and I could be myself.”

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