A brand new policy adopted by the National Women’s Hockey League allows players to express their gender identities freely — and with protection.
According to The Cut, the NWHL became the first professional sports league with an openly transgender player back in October; after playing one season as Hailey Browne for the Buffalo Beats, the player came out as a transgender man named Harrison Browne. Following Browne’s announcement, The Cut reports that NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan personally tracked the revisions made on the NWHL’s website to Browne’s player profile and pronouns.
Now, the NWHL is ensuring that all players have a level playing field — or rink — no matter their gender identities. The Cut says the NWHL enacted a policy that emphasizes the league’s support for their players:
“The NWHL ‘recognizes all forms of gender expression,’ and ‘therefore supports athletes choosing to express their gender beyond the binary of female and male.’ There are now guidelines in the NWHL that indicate which players are eligible to participate, the first being ‘people designated female at birth, regardless of their gender identity.’ In addition, a person transitioning from male to female is eligible to play in the league if she has declared that her gender identity is female, a declaration that ‘cannot be changed, for sporting purposes, for a minimum of four years.’
Furthermore, the league presented stipulations blocking testosterone hormone therapy, says The Cut, specifically in transgender men while “transgender women athletes will be required to demonstrate testosterone levels equal to those of cis-female athletes.”
With these policies in place to create a playing environment open to all, The Cut reports Rylan told the New York Times that is is much more than just an important step forward in the world of sports.
“It’s a unique opportunity to continue to move the conversation forward and accelerate that social progress and to be that benchmark, and to remain approachable and available for these discussions.”