NBA’s historic addition of Che Flores as an openly non-binary and transgender referee

Che Flores shatters barriers as the first openly non-binary and transgender NBA referee, paving the way for diversity and representation.

In a groundbreaking announcement, the National Basketball Association (NBA) proudly introduced Che Flores as the league’s inaugural openly non-binary and transgender referee. This revelation came to light through a feature published by GQ, marking a significant moment in the realm of professional sports.

A Trailblazing Journey

Che Flores, who prefers the pronoun “they,” has made history with their trailblazing career in the NBA. They have officiated a remarkable 35 games in the most recent season and have been an indispensable part of the NBA staff for the past two seasons. Their journey began as non-staff officials overseeing 12 games during the 2021–2022 season.

A Personal Journey Towards Visibility

Flores shared their personal journey with GQ, reflecting on the importance of being true to oneself. They expressed that not being recognized for their true identity was like a constant “kick in the stomach.” Coming out and sharing their identity with the world empowered them and made them feel more in control.

A Stellar Career in Officiating

Before making history in the NBA, Che Flores had an impressive ten-year career officiating basketball. They gained experience in the WNBA and G League, officiating some of the biggest games, including the NCAA women’s national championship, the WNBA Finals, and the G League Finals.

Inspiring Diversity and Inclusion

Speaking to GQ, Che Flores emphasised the importance of their newfound visibility, especially for younger queer individuals. They aim to inspire and demonstrate that success comes in various forms. Flores is dedicated to serving as an example of diversity and representation in professional sports.

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