Transgender woman Breanna Sinclairé made history Wednesday night by becoming the first transgender person to sing the National Anthem at a professional sporting event.
Sinclairé, a classically-trained opera singer, took to the mound at Oakland’s O.co Coliseum to belt out the Star-Spangled Banner before the A’s faced off against the San Diego Padres in the first game of a two game series.
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“It means a lot. I feel very honored,” Sinclairé told the Associated Press of the experience. “I used to be homeless in New York City. I think from being homeless to getting my bachelor’s degree and my master’s degree to this, it’s just kind of mesmerizing to me to have such a group of people that support me and love me and want to see me succeed. I’m so thankful for them.”
Sinclairé’s performance came on Athletics Pride Night at the Coliseum. The A’s honored Glenn Burke, baseball’s first openly gay player, who played for the team between 1978-1979. Burke died of complications from AIDS in 1995.
Billy Bean, Major League Baseball’s Ambassador for Inclusion and an openly gay former player himself, reportedly greeted members of Burke’s family before the game. Burke’s brother Sidney threw out the first pitch.
“I’ll tell you as a player if I had seen that, I would’ve passed out,” Bean told the San Jose Mercury News of Sinclairé National Anthem performance. “Today is a perfect win for this organization and for baseball.”