Kayla Autumn Ward is ready to make history.
She has hopes of becoming the first trans woman ever to attempt to play in the WNBA. She detailed that in an interview where she talked about how she’s going to go about this, her upbringing, and the moment she knew that she felt different from everybody else.
Kayla wants to try out for the WNBA in 2021.
Via Kayla Ward’s own words on ‘Athlete Ally Pro Ambassador‘:
“I wish I could tell you that my journey to get where I am today has been filled with acceptance and encouragement but unfortunately, I can’t. When I was growing up, I had no positive LGBTQ role models to look up to, and so it took a long time before I began living my truth. Now that I am, and especially now that I’m hoping to be the first trans woman to play for the WNBA, I want trans youth everywhere to know that they aren’t alone.
I spent the first 30 years of my life running away from myself and toward what society expected of me. I knew when I was around 6 that I was a girl but didn’t know how to tell anyone. Religion told me those feelings were wrong and my abusive stepdad would have beat me, so it was safer to ignore it and bury those feelings deep inside. Thankfully, I became obsessed with sports; particularly basketball. I was always finding ways to be on a court somewhere. Even at home I would pretend I was hitting the game winner of the Finals while throwing a piece of rolled up paper at a trashcan in the corner of my room. If I wasn’t playing basketball, I was watching it on TV. I even slept with my basketball like kids normally do with a stuffed animal.
As I entered my teens, it became harder to suppress the feelings of gender dysphoria. I struggled connecting with others because I couldn’t relate to them and if it weren’t for basketball and the other sports I would play, I wouldn’t have had any friends. I often felt very isolated and alone, and during those moments my mind would often wander to dark places and I’d want my life to be over. When that would happen, even if it was late at night, I’d pick up my basketball and go to a court because it was the only place I truly found solace. Nothing mattered on the court but putting the ball through the hoop. I could let go of all the noise, stress, and self-hatred, at least for a little while and just be.
During high school, basketball was no longer enough of a distraction from my dysphoria, so I joined the local church. I believed if I prayed hard enough, the feelings of being a girl would go away. I became extremely active in the youth group, bible studies, youth choir, and any other activity I could join. The best part was that we were always playing in basketball or softball leagues, so I had a double distraction! I decided to fully give my life over to God and religion by pursuing a career in ministry and giving up my dreams of playing professional basketball.
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