Che Flores turns into NBA’s first overtly nonbinary, trans referee

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By Calvin S. Nelson

Che Flores will turn into the NBA’s first overtly nonbinary, transgender referee when the California native steps on to the courtroom this season. 

In an interview with GQ revealed Monday, Flores recalled opening as much as fellow officers on the NBA referees’ annual preseason conferences in Brooklyn, New York, final month. 

Referee Che Flores, #91, appears on throughout a sport between the Detroit Pistons and Miami Warmth at FTX Area on Dec. 6, 2022 in Miami. (Megan Briggs/Getty Photos)

“One piece I used to be lacking for myself was that nobody knew how I recognized,” Flores informed the outlet. “Being misgendered as she/her at all times simply felt like a bit of jab within the intestine.” 


In line with the Nationwide Basketball Referees Affiliation, Flores first began within the NBA as a non-staff official through the 2021-22 season. Flores officiated 10 seasons in the WNBA and practically a decade within the G League. 

A Cal State Northridge alum, Flores additionally served as a referee in the NCAA for 13 years, officiating the 2021 NCAA Girls’s Nationwide Championship Sport and the Girls’s Ultimate 4 in 2019.

Che Flores officiates during an NBA game

Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone has phrases for referee Che Flores, #91, through the fourth quarter of the New York Knicks 106-103 win at Ball Area in Denver on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022. (AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Publish by way of Getty Photos)

“Once I began refereeing, you needed to look a sure manner,” Flores recalled within the interview. “That is the primary time I’m comfy expressing myself via my very own vogue and never having to fret about it. I really feel 100% myself now.”

The choice to open up, Flores stated, is motivated by a much bigger function. 

“I simply consider having youthful queer youngsters take a look at someone who’s on a high-profile stage and never utilizing it,” Flores stated within the interview. 

Che Flores officiates during an NBA game

Referee Cheryl Flores, #91, appears on through the sport between the Charlotte Hornets and the Dallas Mavericks at Spectrum Middle on Oct. 13, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Jacob Kupferman/Getty Photos)

“And I am not utilizing the league to a bonus in any manner. That is simply to let younger youngsters know that we will exist, we might be profitable in all alternative ways. For me, that’s most essential—to simply be a face that someone might be like, Oh, okay, that particular person exists. I feel I can do this.”

The NBA season opens Tuesday night time with the reigning NBA champion Denver Nuggets internet hosting the Los Angeles Lakers at 7:30 p.m. ET, adopted by the Phoenix Suns on the Golden State Warriors.

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