Layshia Clarendon delivered a random act of virtual kindness.
The New York Liberty guard, who announced earlier this month she’s transgender, reached out to an upset mother who posted about her family abandoning her newly out trans son on his birthday.
“I’m feeling upset right now,” wrote the Twitter user. “Today is my son’s birthday. He always gets many wishes on Facebook except for this time. He came out as transgender on Facebook earlier this year and it hurts me that not one family member wished him happy birthday. Only me.”
Clarendon to the rescue. They responded to mom, and made sure to pass along birthday wishes to her boy. “So sorry to hear that, ugh,” Clarendon wrote. “That’s heartbreaking. I have family that hasn’t always been accepting either and it cuts deep Broken heart. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! You are so loved and have community here. Cheers to living as your whole self! You’re not alone.”
So sorry to hear that, ugh. That’s heartbreaking. I have family that hasn’t always been accepting either and it cuts deep . HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! You are so loved and have community here. Cheers to living as your whole self! You’re not alone ❤️ ️⚧️☺️— Layshia Clarendon (@Layshiac) December 19, 2020
Five years ago, Clarendon came out as gay and gender non-binary in an essay published on The Players’ Tribune. She uses these pronouns interchangeably: She/Her/They/Them/He/Him.
“I identify as black, gay, female, non-cisgender and Christian,” they wrote at the time. “Jesus didn’t just die for the straight people.”
Since then, Clarendon has emerged as one of the most vocal social justice advocates in the WNBA, becoming a vocal proponent on the Black Lives Matter movement. Last summer, she escalated calls for Georgia senator and Atlanta Dream minority owner Kelly Loeffler to sell her ownership stake.
At the start of the pandemic, Clarendon was part of the Masks for the People campaign, which secured protective masks, sanitizers and testing kits to underserved communities.
In an Instagram post this month, Clarendon provided an update on how they identify. In the picture, she’s wearing a t-shirt that says, “There’s no one way to be trans.”
The photo was taken in the home she shares with her wife, Jessica Dolan. At last report, she was due to deliver their first child any day.
Since coming out, Clarendon says they’ve found a new sense of personal liberty. “Existing outside of the binary for me is freedom,” she wrote in the captain.
As one of the few out non-binary professional athletes, Clarendon embodies the importance of visibility. It can come in the form of something as large as a coming-out story, or seemingly small as a Twitter birthday wish.
Either way, as Clarendon says to the trans community: “I see you, I love you, I love us.”