If you‘ve heard rumors that trailblazing WNBA star Brittney Griner is transgender, you‘re not alone. But the reality is that Brittney Griner is not trans – she is a proud gay woman who has had to overcome harmful misconceptions about her gender identity. Keep reading as we explore Griner‘s background, her own words on the subject, and why these false claims about her being trans matter.
Who is Brittney Griner?
Before diving into the gender identity question, let‘s review Brittney Griner‘s background and meteoric basketball rise:
Born on October 18, 1990 in Houston, Texas
Played basketball at Nimitz High School – led the team to a Texas 5A state title
Attended Baylor University from 2009-2013
Scored 3,283 points at Baylor – second in school history
Blocked 748 shots, an NCAA record that still stands
Led Baylor to the 2012 NCAA national championship
Selected 1st overall in the 2013 WNBA Draft by the Phoenix Mercury
8x WNBA All-Star selection (2013-2021)
2x WNBA champion (2014, 2022) and 2015 WNBA MVP
Led the WNBA in blocks 7 times and averaging 3.9 blocks per game for her career
Scored over 8,500 points in her WNBA career so far
With her 6‘9" height and incredible shot blocking ability, Griner has dominated women‘s basketball at every level. She was considered the most hyped college women‘s recruit of all time. It‘s easy to see why Griner draws attention – on the court, her towering height and skill is unmatched in the women‘s game.
Griner‘s 2013 Coming Out Interview
In May 2013, Brittney Griner made headlines for coming out publicly as a lesbian in an interview with Sports Illustrated. This was still a relatively rare move at the time for a prominent female athlete. In the interview, Griner said:
"I really couldn‘t give an answer on why that‘s so different,‘‘ Griner said. "Being one that‘s out, it‘s just being who you are. Again, like I said, just be who you are."
This openness about her sexuality was a watershed moment. Griner has mentioned how important it was for her to live authentically, especially for younger fans. As one of the biggest stars in women‘s basketball coming out, her announcement carried significant weight.
Why Rumors Questioning Griner‘s Gender Identity Are Inaccurate
Despite publicly identifying as a lesbian cisgender woman, rumors have continued to swirl that Brittney Griner is secretly transgender. These rumors are not supported by facts.
Griner has directly addressed this misconception, saying:
"I just wish people would have more respect, and not try to tear people down, especially athletes."
So where do these inaccurate claims come from? Unfortunately, harmful stereotypes about gender expression, sexual orientation, and biology persist. As a very tall, athletic woman who does not conform to traditional femininity, Griner‘s look and style has led some to wrongly speculate about her gender identity.
Of course, such stereotypes have no merit. There is no evidence to suggest Griner is anything other than the cisgender gay woman she states she is. Her words and identity should be respected.
Griner‘s Advocacy for Trans Rights
In fact, Brittney Griner has a history of advocating for trans rights. She knows firsthand the pain of stereotypes, and has spoken openly in support of trans athletes. Here‘s what Griner has said on the importance of trans inclusion:
"I think we need to help change more of the younger generation‘s minds. Who cares who you like? People are going to love who they love. Let‘s support everybody."
Griner participated in the It Gets Better Project in 2012, speaking against bullying and hate. She emphatically believes that sports should welcome trans athletes, saying "Everyone deserves the right to play."
Griner understands that true equality means fighting for marginalized communities – even those you may not belong to yourself. Her advocacy is inspiring.
By the Numbers: Griner‘s Dominant WNBA Career
Just how good is Brittney Griner? Let‘s dig into the stats and accolades:
26.7 points per game career scoring average – 3rd highest in WNBA history
Led the WNBA in blocks every year from 2013 to 2019
7 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Awards (2014-2020) – all-time record
85.2% career free throw percentage – highest in league history
Griner has put up video game numbers throughout her WNBA career. It‘s easy to see why she draws intense fan and media attention as possibly the most dominant force women‘s basketball has seen.
On top of these mind-blowing stats, Griner has achieved:
- 2 WNBA championships (2014, 2022)
- WNBA MVP (2015)
- 8x WNBA All-Star (2013-2021)
- 2x NCAA champion at Baylor (2012)
- 2012 AP College Player of the Year
Her towering height and natural skills have allowed Griner to overpower any opponent. She‘s on track to go down as one of the greatest centers ever.
The 2022 Russian Detainment Controversy
In February 2022, Brittney Griner was detained by Russian officials at an airport near Moscow. They claimed she had cannabis oil cartridges in her luggage and was smuggling drugs.
This kicked off a lengthy detainment saga spanning months. Griner was not granted a trial but rather placed in detention indefinitely. Her case gained global attention as some U.S. officials declared her "wrongfully detained."
The question arose whether Griner was targeted due to her gender, orientation, or both. Given Russia‘s reputation regarding LGBTQ rights, some speculated it was purposeful. But the truth remains uncertain.
Regardless, this was a scary and trying situation for Griner to endure for months on end. Even LeBron James spoke out in support of her release. Finally, in December 2022, Griner was freed in a dramatic high-level prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Russia.
While detained, Griner showed amazing composure. She emerged even more powerful as a role model.
Why Representation and Accuracy Matter
So why is it so important we talk openly and accurately about Brittney Griner‘s gender identity?
First and foremost, representation matters. Griner succeeding as an openly gay global superstar expands possibilities for LGBTQ youth. Fans draw inspiration from her authenticity.
But harmful misinformation also has consequences. Trans rights advocate AleXa explains it well:
"Speculation about someone being trans just feeds the narrative that there are ‘signs‘ to look for, which is flat-out wrong. Identity is complex."
When we assume based on stereotypes, it spreads ignorance. Griner has faced backlash just for being herself. The least we can do is listen to her lived experience.
As her fans, letting Griner tell her own story is key. Whether standing up for others or dominating on the court, her courage is undeniable.
At just 32 years old, Brittney Griner remains in her prime with many great years ahead. After the anxiety of her Russian detainment, 2023 offers a chance at normalcy. Griner has inspired countless fans with her strength.
The next time you hear someone questioning if Brittney Griner is trans, remember – she has directly addressed this. Such speculation only feeds harmful misconceptions. Instead, we should let Griner‘s legacy speak for itself.
She‘s a self-confident gay woman breaking barriers and standing tall in women‘s sports. Her identity is not up for debate. What matters is the joy she brings fans worldwide though her authentic self. We still have so much to learn from Brittney Griner‘s courage both on and off the court.