Trans hockey player Harrison Browne has halted his hormone therapy so that he can continue to compete in the sport.
Browne rose to fame as a trans athlete after he made history when he became the first openly transgender athlete on a professional US sports team.
Competing in the National Women’s Hockey League, Browne often spoke openly about his transition and what it meant to him to hear his name announced on a loudspeaker.
“I’m still the same player, I’m still playing in the body that I did last year, I’m still the same exact person. I’m just a different name and different pronouns, that’s it. I’m still Brownie,” he told ESPN earlier this year.
Browne’s presence in the sport led to landmark changes in hockey, as the National Women’s Hockey League pledged to protect trans players and work towards a more accepting league.
In March, Browne announced that he would be retiring from hockey aged 23 after 15 years of playing the sport.
“I want to start transitioning and seeing myself in the mirror the way I see on the inside,” he explained.
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“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.
“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.”
Now, Browne has made the decision to halt his transition as he has been given the opportunity to sign with the New York Riveters, another NWHL team.
The league does not require players identify as female but states that they cannot be undergoing hormone therapy.
Talking in a video on YouTube, Browne explained that he was “really excited to be playing again”.
“So when I announced my retirement I was wholeheartedly ready to give it up but I decided to delay my transition another year. The reasoning behind why I wanted to keep playing is that I feel I have more to give and my game is still good,” he said.
Browne added that he didn’t feel he performed as well last season despite winning a championship and his work for the LGBTQ community. He also feels he needs to boost trans representation in light of transphobia in the US right now.
“The LGBTQ community and trans community has reached out to me. Parents and kids have reached out to me to say how important it is for them to have an active athlete in the media.
“I think if I stepped away from that I wouldn’t be doing the job that I can for young teens that are struggling. I think I can help more people if I stay active.
“I’m really going to be active I’m going to be a lot of LGBTQ organisations, groups and centres and volunteer my time. I’m excited to really embrace the sport and bring people into hockey and show that they are wanted. I’m really excited to keep playing and come back,” he added.