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Clarendon: ‘They’re trying to stop us from existing’

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After announcing on Jan. 29 that they had undergone successful top surgery, New York Liberty guard Layshia Clarendon spoke with ACLU lawyer Chase Strangio about the wave of bills sweeping the nation that seek to limit trans rights.

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Layshia Clarendon announced in January that she had undergone successful top surgery. In December 2020, the veteran point guard began identifying as trans.
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Overcoming fear of “hate, myths (and) ignorance,” Layshia Clarendon on Jan. 29 revealed via Twitter that they’ve undergone successful top surgery. Describing feeling “free (and) euphoric” in their post-op body, Clarendon also explained the reason for sharing the news publicly.

“(I) want Trans people to know and see that we’ve always existed (and) no one can erase us!” the New York Liberty guard and WNBPA first vice president wrote.

Later that day, Clarendon spoke with ACLU lawyer Chase Strangio via IGTV about the wave of legislative bills sweeping the nation that seek to strip or limit the rights of trans individuals. Clarendon reiterated in the hour-long conversation that they came out as trans, and shared publicly about their top surgery, to be visible for others who may be struggling to gain acceptance in their communities or who live in jurisdictions that are passing legislation that will deny them access to gender-affirmation surgery, which Clarendon calls “life-saving.”

The other goal of their conversation with Strangio was to dispel the fears and myths of trans people by inviting the public into their individual, respective trans experiences — bringing those experiences and truths up close to people who perhaps were unaware that they already knew a trans public figure in Clarendon.

WATCH: Layshia Clarendon in conversation with ACLU lawyer Chase Strangio

“They’re trying to stop us from existing, and from thriving,” Clarendon said, of the bills targeting trans rights. “And this is a life or death matter for so many people.”

With legislation being introduced that targets trans women in sports in particular, Clarendon also discussed their desire to speak out and be visible for any future trans athletes attempting to enter the WNBA.

As we previously reported, Clarendon’s initial tweet about top surgery received an outpouring of love, celebration and support from her followers, including their wife, Jessica, who responded with a series of “I love yous.”

The couple had their first child together in December, the same month Clarendon began identifying as trans.

SUPPORT: Trans People Belong in Sports

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The players’ association issued a statement of love and support for Clarendon that reminds the world what humanity means: being “authentic, holistic and inclusive.”

Click here to read the complete statement from the WNBPA.

Congratulations to Layshia Clarendon for having the courage to move more fully into their authentic self and, of equal importance, for sharing their journey publicly in service to those who may be struggling.


This story was updated to include information about the IGTV conversation between Layshia Clarendon and Chase Strangio of the ACLU.