By Dirk Smith, M.Sc, SDL (He/Him)
One of the first openly transgender hockey players to play in a professional league, Jessica Platt announced she is officially retiring from the sport after five years on the ice.
Platt was drafted into the Canadian Women’s Hockey league in 2016 where she played with the Toronto Furies for three seasons before transferring to GTA West as a member of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association that formed following the dissolution of the CWHL.
In a post on social media, Platt shared her retirement announcement, recognizing that she isn’t done with hockey but is simply opening a new chapter in her life.
“After going back and forth for awhile on whether or not to have one more try at it, I’ve come to the difficult decision that my time playing professional hockey has come to an end.
“I want to start by giving my most sincere and heartfelt thank you to the fans, my coaches, teammates, opponents, and anyone who followed my journey. Every choice I made, hours put in training, time spent on the 401 driving to hockey was done to live upto the person you all believed I could be.
“I’ve been given so many incredible experiences and opportunities these past few years, met so many amazing people and lived out a life’s dream. I was given an opportunity to help others like myself by being visible and that’s something I’m truly grateful for. It’s had its ups and downs but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
“I’m not done with hockey like the last time I gave it up. I don’t think I could ever give it up again so I’ll still be playing in some capacity and involved when I can be. I’ll always fight for inclusivity and equity in sports, especially hockey.
“This isn’t the end, just the start of a new chapter of my life.”
Platt publicly announced she was transgender via Instagram in 2018, becoming the first trans woman to play professional hockey and the second transgender athlete to play following National Women’s Hockey League player, Harrison Browne’s coming out as a trans male in October 2016.
Following her coming out, Platt was recognized as one of Canada’s “Top 25 Women of Influence 2018” and received a lot of support from her fellow teammates, coaches, and fans. In addition to her athletic career, Platt has been working with Athlete Ally as an ambassador to advocate for upcoming LGBTQIA+ youth in sports and promoting education and awareness of trans athletes. In an article she wrote for Athlete Ally, Platt shares her experience in coming out and playing women’s hockey,
“I received nothing but support from the women’s hockey community everywhere: my coaches, teammates, opponents, the league, and fans. Nobody had anything negative to say to me. Women’s hockey should be looked at as an example of how to support the LGBTQ community in sports. I have never seen anything but acceptance for LGBTQ+ people in this truly special community. The negativity I face is from people who won’t change their opinion, no matter the information provided. They largely have the idea that men are inherently better, and consider a trans woman to have all the advantages men have because of testosterone without realizing that trans women go through surgical procedures, hormone replacement therapy and have to follow sets of rules aimed to level the playing field before being able to compete. This way of thinking takes away from the countless hours of hard work an athlete may put into their sport to be as good as they are.”
Platt has yet to announce what her next step will be, but it’s safe to say we will be seeing and hearing more from her soon, and we can’t wait!
Photo by Heather Pollock