The WNBA’s Most Outspoken Gender-Nonconforming Player Is Over Shame
WNBA’s only gender-nonconforming players, and her LGBTQ+ advocacy and raw authenticity is a rainbow that pierces through dark clouds of conformity in professional sports. In an interview with them., she says she isn’t going to “dim my light” in order to make other people more comfortable, no matter what. And she means it.
Clarendon’s identity as a gender-nonconforming individual, a devout Christian, a person of color, a lesbian, and a professional basketball player have all been diametrically tied to one another. And as she’s grown more confident in who she is, embracing every single part of herself along the way, her confidence on the basketball court has become paramount to her success. Though her WNBA career began in 2013, when she was drafted ninth overall by the Indiana Fever, things didn’t really come together for Clarendon until after the 2015 season. She was traded to the Atlanta Dream and has since blossomed into an All-Star player and arguably one of the best point guards in the league. This spring, she also participated in the USA women’s basketball training camp, playing alongside the WNBA’s elite.
Back in January, Clarendon also bravely joined the #MeToo movement by filing a civil lawsuitagainst the regents of the University of California–Berkley, citing negligence for being sexually assaulted by an athletic department employee. In a potent statement made to ESPN’s Outside The Lines, she said she wanted “the shame to not be her own anymore.” Her openness and public admission was embraced by many both within and outside the world of sports. (Just yesterday, the University of California-Berkeley fired assistant director for student services Mohamed Muqtar, who was named in Clarendon’s lawsuit as having sexually assaulted her when she was 18.)
Before the tipoff of the 2018 WNBA season this Friday, them. caught up with Clarendon to chat about her role as an outspoken gender-nonconforming basketball player in a women’s league, the #MeToo movement in the sports world, and why she believes the representation and visibility of LGBTQ+ athletes like herself is so crucial for our youth.