Matt Barnes doesn’t support trans women playing in WNBA: ‘If you’re born a man, you should play man sports’

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read

One recent social discussion that has been going on across the world of sports is the debate about how transgender athletes should be able to compete.

While there are many who believe that athletes should get the chance to compete against other athletes who identify as the same gender, there are just as many who believe that trans athletes should have to compete within their biological sex.

It’s a hot-button issue to be sure. That is especially true due to the perceived advantage that trans women who were born as men have over biological women in the world of sports.

Now, former Los Angeles Lakers forward Matt Barnes has come forward to make it clear that he does not believe trans women should be allowed to play in the WNBA.

“I’m pro make your choice,” he began. “… But sports is different. Sports is a different beast. … I don’t like that. If you’re born a woman, I think you should play women sports. And if you’re born a man, you should play man sports.”

Interestingly, there seemingly has not been a single case in which a trans women has competed in the WNBA. Layshia Clarendon came out as trans earlier in their career, but they were seemingly born as a woman.

Last season, they played for the New York Liberty before being released and picked up by the Minnesota Lynx.

Last year marked a major decision in Clarendon’s life. In January 2021, Clarendon revealed that they had undergone gender-affirming top surgery.


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A post shared by Layshia Clarendon (@layshiac)

When it comes to what Barnes is discussing, Clarendon is doing exactly what Barnes would prefer to see. Still, it seems quite likely that there would be some folks who’d have an issue with Clarendon playing in either the WNBA or NBA, regardless of how they identify.

The truth is that, as young people grow up in a world that is far more open to trans identities, the discussion of trans athletes in sports will likely only gain momentum and prevalence.

It will be interesting to see how and when that impacts the WNBA in the coming years.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.