NBA referee comes out as trans and non-binary

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NBA referee comes out as trans and non-binary

In a groundbreaking revelation on October 24th, NBA’s sophomore referee, Che Flores, unveiled their identity as trans and non-binary. This courageous act marked them as the inaugural trans or non-binary adjudicator within the league’s annals.

Flores, in a candid dialogue with GQ, remarked, “A fragment of my essence remained concealed, for the world remained oblivious to my true self. Each instance of being addressed as ‘she/her’ felt akin to a subtle sting.”

Delving into the intricate tapestry of their journey, Flores recounted the pivotal moment during the previous season. It was then that they confided in Monty McCutchen, the luminary overseeing referee cultivation within the NBA.

“Without hesitation, he addressed me simply as Che. Such an effortless acknowledgment alleviated my apprehensions, paving the way for a more profound conversation about my gender identity,” Flores elucidated to GQ. McCutchen’s response was not only affirmative but also proactive. He sought Flores’ consent to apprise the league’s referee directorate about the preference for ‘they/them’ pronouns. Beyond the realm of gender, McCutchen underscored Flores’ imminent ascent in the officiating echelons, attributing it to their illustrious tenure spanning the NCAA, WNBA, and G-League.

McCutchen, in his discourse with GQ, opined, “Che’s unwavering dedication, irrespective of the arena, invariably shines, compelling others to recognize such brilliance.”

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Flores accentuates the imperative of being a beacon for the youth, especially in an era where LGBTQ individuals often find themselves on the periphery in sports arenas.

“The vision of young queer individuals resonating with someone on such a prominent platform is paramount. My association with the league isn’t a leverage but a testament that we, too, can carve our niche and triumph in myriad ways. My aspiration is to be that visage which instills the belief, ‘Ah, such individuals thrive. Perhaps, I too can emulate that,’” Flores mused.

The NBA’s trajectory towards LGBTQ inclusivity has been gradual, underscored by the momentous disclosure by erstwhile NBA athlete, Jason Collins, just before his retirement in 2014. Contrarily, the WNBA showcased a more progressive stance, with approximately a fifth of its players in the 2022 roster identifying as LGBTQ, as per Outsports.

In a poignant conclusion, Flores expressed, “I now bask in the authenticity of my being, unburdened and liberated. The shackles of pretense no longer bind me.”

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