Layshia Clarendon

Layshia Clarendon

ACTIVIST & ATHLETE

Layshia Clarendon is a Black American athlete and LGBTQ activist. Clarendon is a professional basketball player and first round draft pick in her 5th season in the Women's National Basketball Association serving presently as a starting point guard for the Atlanta Dream.

Layshia was born on May 2, 1991 in San Bernardino, CA to to parents Curtis and Sharon Clarendon. She has one older sister, Jasmine, and a younger brother, Terry. Athleticism and basketball in particular is woven into the fabric of the Clarendon family. Layshia’s father was a high school basketball referee for 15 years and my her older sister played basketball as well. Naturally, Layshia continued her family’s legacy by picking up the ball and never looking back. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from the University of California Berkeley. While enrolled at UC Berkeley, she led the Cal Women’s Basketball team to their first Final Four appearance in the program’s history.

Layshia Clarendon started her career as a first round draft pick for the Indiana Fever, playing with the team from 2013 to 2015. In 2016, Layshia was traded to the Atlanta Dream and serves as a starting point guard on the team. On and off the court Layshia is a passionate leader and community advocate. Layshia was inspired by her faith to be an advocate. Once she was able to reconcile her faith identity and sexual orientation in college, she realized her struggles and hardships were preparing her for a larger purpose. Layshia realized that she possessed empathy, insight, understanding for what so many youth and adults go through in terms of accepting themselves and their identities. She became emboldened to speak for people without a voice and to be herself unapologetically. Layshia says, “I realized existing as my full self is a protest in itself and is enough to inspire.”

Since her rookie season Layshia has been a passionate, outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ and Black community. She has spoken on numerous panels across the United States for organizations and outlets including: Human Rights Campaign, The Sports Business Journal, The Atlantic, and the espnW Summit. Clarendon has written for publications such as Esquire, ESPN, and The Players Tribune. Her advocacy work has led her to make partnerships with organizations doing great work like Br{ache The Silence, Athlete Ally, Indiana Youth Group, and You Can Play.  She is passionate about and active in the LGBT community and hopes to promote inclusion in athletics, raise awareness around intersectionality, and bridge the divide between LGBTQ and faith communities.