Current Team: New York Liberty | #7
Draft: 2012 | Cal | 1st round (9th overall)
Key Accolades: All-Star (2017)
The Pet: Mowgli
The Down Low
Clarendon calls himself a “lead by example person,” and that statement holds true on and off the court. On the court, they are known as a facilitator who can not only create plays for their teammates but also has a dangerous three-point shot of their own. Layshia's veteran presence was crucial for the rookie-filled Liberty roster in 2020. As head coach Walt Hopkins described, Layshia "leads vocally, but also by consistently modeling a tireless work ethic and respect for those around her." Layshia also apparently has an underrated skill at trash talking, which I'd personally love to see.
Off the court, Layshia leads with his authenticity and advocacy. They are the first openly transgender athlete in the WNBA. In 2021, amidst a bogus debate about whether trans people belong in sports (hint: they do), Layshia bravely revealed that she had top surgery. I personally was inspired by their courage, and was also proud to see how the WNBA community openly celebrated with them.
Ultimately, my biggest form of activism is just showing up authentically and giving other people around me the light and the freedom to hopefully show up and be their full selves.
He wants the league to use this power as well. They are a member of the Social Justice Council and have pushed conversations about the power of authenticity in the league and making sure its policies are queer inclusive. Hopefully, the WNBA will follow Layshia's lead.
[T]he labels that we give ourselves matter. That’s why I claim them so boldly and loudly. Because they are political statements. And there’s power in them. So, in that way, I try to own it and empower as many people as I can....
I want us to remember that our existence truly is resistance.
More on Layshia
- “Being Black and Non-Binary Is My Superpower”: Layshia Clarendon on Race, Gender, Social Justice and the WNBA (Dani Bar-Lavi, Sports Are From Venus)
- Layshia Clarendon: ‘Kelly Loeffler is the anti-movement’ (as told to Sean Hurd, the Undefeated)
- Layshia Clarendon is trans, and yes, also non-binary (Dawn Ennis, SB Nation)
- How Layshia Clarendon, Athlete and Activist, Spends Sundays (Alexandra E. Petri, New York Times)
- Connecticut Sun guard Layshia Clarendon an activist, a survivor (Jim Fuller, New Haven Register)
- It’s Time to Think Bigger (The Players' Tribune)
- Social Justice Council Video (WNBA.com)