(IN 2016, THE INTERNATIONAL
OLYMPIC COMMITTEE RULED (THAT TRANSGENDER ATHLETES
COULD COMPETE (WITHOUT UNDERGOING SURGERY.) (THIS POLICY MADE HISTORY IN
THE SPORTS WORLD, WELCOMING (A NEW GENERATION OF ATHLETES
INTO THE OLYMPIC FAMILY.) (HARRISON BROWNE IS THE FIRST
PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE (IN TEAM SPORTS IN
NORTH AMERICA (TO COME OUT PUBLICLY
AS TRANSGENDER.) (HE HAS RECENTLY DECIDED TO
BEGIN HIS MEDICAL TRANSITION, (MAKING THIS HIS LAST YEAR IN
WOMEN’S PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY (DUE TO REGULATIONS AGAINST
THE USE OF HORMONE THERAPY.) (THIS IS HIS STORY.) I think everybody
goes through a tough time trying to figure out
where you fit in. You just go through
a lot of confusion, you go through a lot of anger,
just trying to figure out why you feel so different. I get misgendered, I get
placed into society as a woman. So just kind of when
that became too much, I needed to tell people. (IDENTIFY) So the typical hockey story
of most people that I grew up playing with, they started
playing when they were four or five, and I
started when I was nine. So I think that that really
did light the fire under me and give me the drive to be
the player that I am now. I’m Harrison Browne. I play for the Buffalo
Beauts for the NWHL. The NWHL is the National
Women’s Hockey League. It’s been two years
since its birth. There’s about 70 or so players. It’s a paid
professional women’s league. It’s the first of its
kind, and it’s given so many opportunities,
from playing overseas to meeting lifelong friends. The making of the
NWHL was huge for me. I thought that I was
gonna hang up my skates once I was done college. And then when my
senior year came around, I got news that there was
this new league out that paid players,
gave them equipment. And I thought, wow, that’s a
really good opportunity for me. I would definitely love
to be a part of that. So I went to the tryouts,
I applied for the teams, and eventually
I made one, thankfully. Harrison is a very
gritty, hardworking, determined player. He works so hard. He’s got such great work ethic,
and he’s such a team player. He’s physical out there,
just for his size. We go up against
each other, and you know, I’m six feet and he’s
a lot shorter than me, but he’s very
tough and very strong. I’m probably the
lightest person on my team, so I really do have to make up
for that with my physicality. I play a lot bigger than I am,
and I think that that’s really given me the
success that I’ve had. Everything that I’d
been through as a kid, it had been through
a single-sex environment. I’d been to an
all-girls’ school, I played on all-girls’ teams. I definitely had
those aspirations to be an Olympic athlete. I made a small step
towards that by making my under-18 team. This is my under-18
national team picture. So we competed in
2011 in Sweden. And that one’s me
with the grimacing face and the long hair. That was just me
being me at the time, and I was just really happy
to represent my country and to wear those colours. I think the most difficult part
of coming out as transgender was the fact that I had to
come out all over again. I had initially come
out as gay to my family, my friends and everything,
and it was just kind of going through
that process again. It was definitely a
learning curve for most people, but they genuinely
wanted to learn. It was just a growing process that we all went
through together. – Hello.
– Hey. What are you
making, stir-fry? – Stir-fry, yeah.
– It’s so beautiful out. I know. Should we go for
a walk at least? Yeah, well, I can try and run. Frantically
texting Carly right now. She had to go back
to get a jacket. So fingers crossed
she makes the flight! Wait, are you guys
going for a walk? Can I come? I think the culture of
a hockey team is family. The closest
friends that I have, the friends that I’m gonna keep
for life are my hockey friends. You’re around
these people 24/7. You go through your
ups and downs together. I don’t know
exactly what it is. It might be the dressing room,
might be the excitement and the fight and drive on the ice
that brings people together, but there’s just something
special about hockey that I found that was so much
different than other sports that I’ve participated in
that I was so drawn to. We were saying earlier
today we’re like a family. Us three in the house,
he’s like our little brother. This is where I run,
kind of a cool neighbourhood. You run? – I’ve run here once.
– When? “This is where
I run…once.” One time! ‘Soon as I met Harrison,
he kind of came out to me, ‘and I just, like,
OK, that’s awesome. ‘Like you wanna be
who you are, you know, ‘there’s no problem with that. ‘We don’t really care
what you look like, ‘who you like, who you wanna
be, just you’re a team-mate. ‘We love you,
we care about you, ‘and we just wanna
have fun together.’ OK, stop here,
let’s race, let’s race. – Start here.
– Go. Did Carly get on the plane? – Yeah.
– Carly’s on the plane. What time do you
have to pick her up at? I have to pick her up at 5:45. What time is it? It’s 4:20. Ooh! My girlfriend Carly,
she’s from Chicago. So she came down to visit one
of my team-mates last year that was on the
Buffalo Beauts. And I just knew that she was
definitely someone that I was very attracted to, and
that I connected with. He’s very
sensitive and emotional, and not in a way that
everybody gets to see. In a way that I think his
closest friends and those he loves and lets into his
circle really grasp onto. She’s been so supportive. She’s been my rock
through this whole thing. She was definitely one of
the people that pushed me to really come out, to be
like you can do this, like, you should do this. Are you guys excited
to watch the last game? Just sad that
it’s your last one. I know. How many games have
you been to, Jules? I think I’ve been to almost
every home game this year, except for, like, one. Super fan, super fan! She’s a puck buddy! No, I’m ready to… Oh, can’t wait to play
my favourite player! Oh, goodness. I don’t know who did it, hit
her right in the head. I could see she was yelling, but I couldn’t hear
what she was saying. It was hilarious. We need this big meal
so we can win tomorrow. – Hell yeah.
– Fuel for the win. It’s warm out here! – It’s warm?
– Yeah. Yeah, this ice is weird. It’s so watery! ALL: Whoa! I took a slap-shot,
it broke right in half! – Did it actually?
– Yeah! You have to start concentrating when you guys are
out on the ice here. It starts here,
and it carries over, and you guys have
done that all year long. What makes hockey so unique is
that it’s the most inclusive, welcoming,
supportive environment, both on the ice
and off the ice. You play and you
love the sport, you’re welcomed with open arms. After you take your shot,
I want you to curl back to where you start,
I want a little pass. This is Craig’s
first year in the NWHL. He’s been amazing after
learning about the fact that I’m transgender. When he addresses the
team, sometimes he says, “Ladies,” but he’ll
look at me and say, “..and gentlemen.” So he really goes out of his
way to make me feel included, and it’s definitely something
that is really appreciated. His goals will be determined
by how he wants to end, I guess, this story with the
Buffalo Beauts and the NWHL. When Harrison
came out publically, he had the full support of
the players and the league and the management
and the fans. I think it’s
been well received, and he’s been a fantastic
ambassador for what he’s doing. I have top surgery
scheduled in June. I will violate rules if
I undergo hormone therapy, so my time playing
as a woman’s athlete, as a female
athlete will be done. I decided to create
a YouTube channel because I’ve had a lot of
news outlets share my story, and I didn’t get to
tell it my way. This is me talking, me sharing. It can’t be misrepresented. And I’m using this as
kind of a learning tool, and kind of a way for me
to get things off my chest. Social media has
changed my life a lot, definitely has given me
people to reach out to. And the fact that now I’m that
beacon of hope that somebody was for me, I think
that that’s great, and I feel a huge honour. I have a great support
system with my friends, my girlfriend, my sister. Yesterday I had kind of
a talk with my parents, and it didn’t go well at all. So… The fact that he is so willing
to speak on behalf of the transgender community
when we have so many people that are not opening
their eyes to what it’s like to walk in somebody
like Harrison’s shoes just goes to show that
he’s creating a movement. People need to understand
that there ARE struggles, there ARE obstacles,
and you need the support, and you need your team-mates,
you need your friends, you need your family. This was given to me last week. A fan put this over the glass. I got that in Boston. So every time I go to
Boston, he’s in the crowd. So he’s a fan of
the Boston Pride, which is the
team out of Boston, but I think he’s a
fan of me as well. I get a lot of messages
from trans people and people of
the LGBT community. So somebody’s just
said, “Harrison, “I just wanna tell
you because of you, “I now see I don’t have to give
up my passion to be myself. “I look to you as a role model “and hope to achieve what
you have done someday.” That’s somebody that’s been
going through something that I’ve been going through,
and that I was able to be the person that I needed
when I was younger. It’s really a cool
feeling to be that person. “I hope this reaches the
actual athlete Harrison Browne. “You’re an inspiration to
more people than you know. “Thank you for being
you, you are loved.” Signed – “a modern day parent”. If I can help save one
life, that’s amazing. I feel like something
we are really bad at is making reservations. I just always forget to do it. I know, forget there’s
other people in the world. You’re like, “Wait, so
there’s no availability?” ‘I’ve been playing hockey
since I’ve been nine years old. ‘It’s been my life. ‘So it’s definitely surreal ‘that this is
my last year playing, ‘this is my last year
being a professional athlete.’ How do you think you’re gonna
feel about not playing hockey? I don’t know,
it’ll be weird. I’m excited to start
a whole new chapter. Would you join
a men’s beer league? Yeah! Oh, that’s so weird! Why? I’ve never seen you play
with guys, so it’s… Yes, I’m gonna play
like beer league, but, like, no games are ever
gonna be as meaningful as like what they are now, you know? It’s not gonna be talking in
a dressing room like, “We have to win this game!” I think you’ll be
fulfilled in other areas. And you don’t know
what those will be yet, but you will. You want to look in the mirror and see the person
that’s inside reflecting. This is something that I’m
jumping in with both feet. I’m not looking back at all. If I would’ve made the choice
to physically transition before this stage,
I would’ve felt unfulfilled. Playing hockey, he’s done
it since he was little. It’s all he’s known. You can’t really
take that away. It’s really
ingrained in your bones. It’s definitely a
closing of a chapter, but I’m excited
for the next steps, and I just really
wanna go out with a bang. An unbelievable
shocking upset in Lowell, Massachusetts! The Buffalo Beauts have
toppled the Boston Pride, and they take the Isobel Cup
by a final score of 3-2! I have accomplished
what I want to accomplish, so I feel I’m at peace
and I’m ready to move on.