'No one can erase us.' New York Liberty's Layshia Clarendon has successful top surgery

WNBA player Layshia Clarendon had top surgery on Jan. 13, the New York Liberty guard said Friday on their Instagram and Twitter accounts.

"I'm usually not scared to share news publicly but the amount of hate, myths & ignorance actually had me debating sharing this joy," Clarendon wrote on Twitter. "I had Top Surgery! I’m feeling free & euphoric in my body & want Trans people to know and see that we’ve always existed & no one can erase us!"

Clarendon identifies as trans/non-binary — she/her/they/them/he/him, according to their Twitter page.

In a statement posted on Twitter, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert wrote, "Layshia’s story is one of inspiration and courage, and as a takeaway from the emotional conversation we shared recently, my hope is that the WNBA’s full support will extend far beyond this league. We are so proud Layshia is part of the WNBA and we know that their voice and continued advocacy will not only support and help honor and uplift many other non-binary and trans people, but also encourage empathy and understanding for the community across all levels of sport."

The Liberty, who are owned by Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai, also released a statement in support of Clarendon.

"The New York Liberty family is in full support of Layshia Clarendon and their choice to live authentically," the team said. "The Liberty has been and will continue to be an organization that celebrates the individuality of all people. Layshia is a proud embodiment of our belief that our strength lies in our truth and no one should live constrained by societal boundaries. Layshia’s journey as a pioneering athlete, along with their activism and advocacy work, is an inspiring call for each of us to honor our humanity above all else."

Clarendon is the first vice president of the Women’s National Basketball Players Association and has played eight seasons in the WNBA. Last season, they averaged 11.5 points, three assists and 2.7 rebounds and started in 19 games.

Layshia Clarendon during a Liberty game in September. Clarendon, who identifies as transgender and nonbinary, announced on social media Friday that they had surgery to remove breast tissue.

In an Instagram post in December, Clarendon — wearing a t-shirt that read "There’s No One Way To Be Trans" — wrote, "Shoutout to one of my closest friends who was the first person to show me that transness can exist outside of the binary. @mywarden showed me that you can be trans and non binary, genderqueer and so much more. That the more you embrace all of your gender the more free you become.

"Existing outside of the binary for me is freedom. I’ve learned that my gender just doesn’t fit into these molds that keep trying to hold it down and box it in. I know that my gender will keep evolving because we change and grow and shape shift and expand. I know that as Andrea Gibson says, my pronouns haven’t even been invented yet. I know that we all have masculinity and femininity inside of us and mine show up equally and wholly and fully.

"Cheers to being whole because we were not created to be anything less than that! To the Trans Community, I see you, I love you, I love us."