“There is no better way to live life than as yourself.” - Harrison Browne
Greenwood had the pleasure of welcoming Harrison Browne, the first transgender athlete in North American professional sports, to speak at our Pride Week assembly on Monday.
Harrison shared his journey through life from when he was a child to the present day. As a kid, Harrison expressed that he often felt invisible, so he knew when he went to college he knew he wanted to live his life as he truly was. He opened up to his friends and family about transitioning and found a great support system at school.
Hockey was his passion; however, he sometimes felt like he was trapped in a cage. Every time they announced his birth name or used feminine pronouns at a game, he immediately felt uncomfortable. He knew this needed to change in order for him to be his true self.
After a year of playing in the National Women’s Hockey League, Harrison requested a name and pronoun change. The league had his back and he was pleasantly surprised by the amount of support he received.
After winning a championship game, a reporter asked him “How does it feel to be the first transgender athlete in North America?” That question took him by surprise, because he did not realize he had just made history. From that moment on, Harrison will always be known as the first openly transgender athlete in North American professional sports.
One of the most rewarding parts of his hockey career was not just winning a championship, but hearing from other transgender people and those in the LGBTQ+ community that he provided them with strength. He knew he was changing the lives of vulnerable youth, especially those in sports.
Harrison’s strong advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights lead to the introduction of a transgender policy to the NWHL. He told Greenwood that this was his proudest moment.
Harrison is able to live his life the way he wants and has proven to others that anything is possible. “The only thing holding you back from being yourself is you,” said Harrison.
His hope for the future is to see transgender policies in every sport and to continue being a strong advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.
He ended his presentation with strong words of encouragement: “Take risks, be brave, but most importantly BE YOU.”
Thank you, Harrison for inspiring the Greenwood community. Your words were impactful and your presentation was a wonderful way to start our Pride Week.