Photo by Boston Pride Hockey
Working to increase representation and participation of athletes who identify as transgender and non-binary in sports, Boston Pride Hockey has launched “Team Trans” which is an initiative “where the goal isn’t to win, but to prove that everyone has a place on the ice!”
Team Trans officially kicked off on November 10th and 11th, 2019 with the Team Trans Friendship Series that included a series of scrimmages, games, and workshops with the other members of Boston Pride Hockey, but specifically to organize a trans and non-binary specific hockey team.
Team Trans is a grassroots effort supported by Boston Pride Hockey and the Team Trans Friendship Series included coaching, guidance and playing from several professional and elite level transgender and non-binary hockey players. Including Harrison Browne, Jessica Platt, Aidan Cleary, and Ashleigh.
Harrison Browne is the first professional hockey player to come out as Transgender while he was playing with the NWHL. He was pivotal in helping to develop one of the first trans inclusive participation policies in professional sports for both trans men and trans women. He currently serves on the NWHL advisory board as Inclusion Leader and was ranked as one of hockey’s Top 100 People of Power in 2016 by The Hockey News.
Jessica Platt played for the CWHL as a member of the Toronto Furies, however the league folded last year, so she is currently playing for the PWHPA and was the first trans woman to come out during her professional career.
Both Browne and Platt were joined by Aidan Cleary and Ashleigh, both of whom have a passion for hockey but often found themselves at odds with their gender identity and athletic identity. The world of sports, including hockey has been notoriously hostile for many trans and non-binary people who are often left to sacrifice one aspect of their identity for the other.
Team Trans is part of grassroots movement being launched in many LGBTQI sports clubs to have trans and non-binary specific teams to build a sense of community and offer a place for trans and non-binary athletes to participate in sports. Other initiatives included Tel Aviv LGBTQI Sports Club’s TransBall and West Hollywood Aquatic’s Lanemate X.
The topic of trans participation in sports has often become heated, uncivil nor productive. However, the most important thing to consider is that ensuring there are opportunities and communities that are inclusive and oriented for trans and non-binary athletes is an important part toward advancing the discussion, building educational opportunities and creating communities.
Team Trans is open to all trans and non-binary hockey players, regardless of experience or playing level, all are invited to take part. Additionally, Team Trans is accepting donations to help establish the team and build upon their mission. For more information and to donate, visit https://bostonpridehockey.org/team-trans
By Dirk Smith