Harrison Browne unretires

Harrison Browne retired from hockey at the end of 2016. The only openly transgender athlete to play a professional team sport went out a winner as his Buffalo Beauts won the Isobel Cup.

Wikipedia sums up his career:

Browne signed a professional contract with the Buffalo Beauts of the newly formed NWHL on August 29, 2015.[3] In the 2015–16 season, he played in 18 games, scored 5 goals and had 12 points. He played in 5 games in the NWHL postseason, scoring 2 goals and 2 assists.[4]

On May 14, 2016, Browne signed a second one-year contract with the Beauts.[5]

In October 2016, Browne came out as a transgender man and thus became the first openly transgender athlete in professional American team sports. Browne will remain biologically female through the rest of his playing career, as the hormones involved in female-to-male gender transition violate anti-doping regulations.[6]

Playing for Team Kessel, Browne scored two goals at the 2nd NWHL All-Star Game.[7]

On March 14, 2017, Browne announced he would be retiring from the NWHL at the end of the season to begin hormone replacement therapy and continue his gender transition in privacy.[8]

On March 19, 2017 Browne won the Isobel Cup with the Buffalo Beauts, becoming the first openly transgender athlete to win a national championship on a team sport.

Browne's intention was to begin his physical transition.

I wholeheartedly felt that that was what I was going to do. I booked my top surgery, but when it came time to where I was getting prepared for the surgery, I had second thoughts in thinking I was not done [with hockey.

I felt as if I had more to give to the sport, more to give to the LGBTQ fans that really took off with my story and really stayed with me throughout last season. I realized I didn’t give that a chance to full[y] blossom into what it could have been. I just thought I could do more in that respect and see what would happen.


By the spring, Browne was reconsidering his retirement. He took some time to quietly reflect on what’s been happening in the world, particularly here at home in the U.S., and came to the realization that he wasn’t quite done with hockey after all. He also wanted to do more for the LGBTQ community as a whole.

Something that really spoke to me this summer was when I was reached out to by Hungary for Budapest Pride. They wanted to find LGBTQ athletes who could give a face to trans individuals, because the people who are against it are people who can’t put a face to a name, or a story to a person.

I think there is something going on in America right now with a lot of hatred and misconceptions. And I think if you could put one face and name to it, then that might help influence someone in a way where they can open up and question their own hatred. The more people that are out there and open and sharing their stories, the more people we can educate and change a lot of mindsets.


Browne delayed his physical transition because recovery from surgery would interfere with the start of the NWHL season and beginning hormone treatment would make him ineligible to compete in the NWHL.

It sucks that that has to be the decision that needs to be made, because I don’t think many people have this kind of crossroads to choose between, but I feel like I am doing the right thing. I am excited to play hockey and doing more volunteer work. That’s what I’m focusing on.

He has signed to play the coming season with the New York Riveters.

Buffalo was great, and I loved the city. I played two seasons there, and the fans embraced me and celebrated me. The environment was great. But I think being in a bigger city like New York and having access to more LGBTQ organizations is a good thing, and that was definitely a factor in me wanting to sign with the Riveters. I owed it to the Beauts to tell them my mindset, and they were very supportive and asked me if I needed any help or recommendations. I am still in contact with a lot of my old teammates, and everyone is very supportive.

I hope I inspire other people to live openly as well.









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