Che Flores is the NBA’s first out nonbinary and transgender referee, making that revelation in a story published by GQ on Monday.
Flores, who uses the pronoun they, is entering their second season as an NBA staff referee, after working 35 games last season. They also worked 12 games as a nonstaff official during the 2021-22 season.
“One piece I was missing for myself was that no one knew how I identified,” Flores told GQ. “Being misgendered as she/her always just felt like a little jab in the gut.”
“I can go through the world and even my job a lot more comfortably,” they added.
Some NBA executives have known how Flores identifies for several months. Many of Flores’ colleagues learned when they revealed it at preseason meetings last month.
Flores has worked games for about a decade in both the G League and the WNBA. They have been previously picked to work some of the biggest events in basketball — the G League Finals, the WNBA Finals and the NCAA women’s national championship game.
“I just think of having younger queer kids look at somebody who’s on a high-profile stage and not using it,” Flores told GQ. “And I’m not using the league to an advantage in any way. This is just to let young kids know that we can exist, we can be successful in all different ways.”
Image credits: AP