A trans woman has made history by being the first to sing the national anthem at a professional sports game this week.
Breanna Sinclairé, a 25-year-old classically trained soprano, sang at the Oakland Coliseum for the Oakland A’s LGBT Pride night.
‘I never thought I’d be here,’ she told the San Francisco Chronicle ahead of her performance.
‘I’m trying to calm my nerves with meditation, but every time I see that jersey Michael [her boyfriend] got me to wear tonight, it reminds me I’m going to be singing for 30,000-whatever people. The biggest audience I’ve had before is 1,000, so you see where the nerves come from.’
Zak Basch, the Oakland A’s media relations coordinator, said: ‘We were looking for a member or ally of the LGBT community to sing the anthem, and Breanna Sinclairé was suggested by a friend of one of our front-office members.
‘Breanna submitted a demo, and it sounded great. We wanted to promote the theme of inclusion throughout the night, and the anthem is an important part of that.’
Breanna is also the first trans graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s classical voice program. She told the SF Chronicle that when she came out she faced rejection from her family, anti-trans violence, harassment and periods of homelessness.
Now, she said, she is beginning to gain acceptance from her family, and is working to help young people in similar positions.
‘In my work at the (San Francisco LGBT) Center as a transgender employment specialist, a lot of what I do is help people find their confidence,’ she said.
‘When I work with kids that have dealt with life on the street, it breaks my heart. I was there.’
‘My mother has started to become more graceful and supportive,’ she continued. ‘She made me a quilt to keep during my surgery because she couldn’t be there. She’s always been supportive of my career, but my lifestyle was very challenging for her.’
She said for many trans people, family acceptance ‘is a process’. She hopes that ‘in the next few years she’ll really think of me as her daughter. It’s a brand-new mother-daughter relationship.’
‘But I was probably most surprised when my gay uncle, who had told me when I came out that I was not part of the gay community as a trans person, sent me a message,’ she said.
‘He knew about the national anthem, and his message just said, "knock ’em dead."’
Billy Bean, Major League Baseball’s Ambassador for Inclusion and an openly gay former player himself, told the San Jose Mercury News how happy he was to see a trans person singing at the game.
He said: ‘Today is a perfect win for this organization and for baseball.’