Is WNBA player Brittney Griner a "he" and not a "she"? No, that's not true: There is no evidence that Griner -- who uses "she," "her" and "hers" pronouns to describe herself -- identifies as a man. Griner has publicly discussed being misgendered and the effects it had on her mental health since at least 2015.
The claim appeared in a Facebook post on August 7, 2022. The post included topless pictures that allegedly showed Griner. The caption reads:
Fact check ✅ can't fix this one nor argue this.
Brittney Griner Gender Speculated After Instagram Image Showing Her To Be A Man Goes Viral
'She' is a 'He'. -oop's ... 🤦
Yo can we get a fact check over here on aisle lgbq or lgbq+?
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Thu Aug 11 16:3:51 2022 UTC)
Lead Stories found a tweet from 2020 saying that similar images are from an Instagram Live stream from Griner. The live stream is not saved to Griner's Instagram account. Photos and videos of Griner with the same chest and arm tattoos shown in the Facebook post images are available online. Whether she was actually topless in the images or not, that does not prove that she is a man, and the Facebook post provides no substantive evidence -- and neither does the article linked in the post's caption -- to support the claim.
Griner, shown through the years in this CNN gallery, played basketball on girls' and women's teams before being drafted into the WNBA, a women's league.
Griner has even laid the rumors to rest herself. She posed nude for ESPN The Magazine's 2015 Body Issue. For the issue, she talked extensively about being bullied as an adolescent for being "flat-chested," as the Facebook post implied, and for having a "deep" voice:
When I was younger, I definitely got picked on for my size and my voice, which has always been deep. I never wanted to speak up in class. I didn't want to hear myself; I hated the way I sounded. I couldn't listen. They teased me about everything, my different voice, my stature, my chest. I've always been flat-chested. I remember around sixth or seventh grade the 'cool girls' would reach out and touch my chest: 'Yep, nothing.' I felt like less than a person. It was crazy. I felt frozen. That was one of the worst things they could do.
It definitely weighed on me. I just wanted to be one of 'the normal kids.'
However, Griner expressed that at the time of the interview, she embraced her appearance:
I'd describe myself as athletically lanky. I want to show people that. I'm comfortable in my body and I don't mind putting it on display. Honestly, I like how unique it is. My big arms, my bigger hands, these long legs-I love being different. If everybody was the same, it'd be a boring-ass world.
I'm sure people are going to have a lot of critical things to say [about these photos]. 'Yo, she's a man!' But hey, that's my body and I look the way I look. People are either going to accept me for who I am or they're not. I don't know what people think I'm hiding. I've heard, 'Oh, she's not a female, she's a male.' I've been told, 'Oh, she's tucking stuff.' They thought I was tucking. I mean, [in the Body Issue] it's out there. Let me show that I embrace the flatness! I just want people to see somebody who embraces being naked, embraces everything about them being different.
Griner was profiled in a 2013 article published by Elle and was described as being styled in men's clothing. Her identity as a lesbian was also discussed. However, she didn't state that she identified as a man or that her pronouns were anything other than "she," "her" or "hers." The article says:
Griner says that by this time in her life, she's well aware that others perceive her as more masculine than the average woman, but she says she's never had the feeling that she was born the 'wrong' sex, as do people who suffer from gender-identity disorder (and who may eventually identify as transgender).
Lead Stories previously debunked a claim that Russian officials ordered a DNA test for Griner, who is imprisoned in Russia at the time of writing.