Somehow I’ve been writing this blog for over a year now, and I haven’t written about the WNBA. So, to all of you WNBA fan out there — this one is for you!
I’ve actually been to a couple of WNBA games (Seattle Storm, HOLLER!) and, while I spend 30% of the game taking shots in the bathroom and about 60% of the game making friends with the closest lesbians (usually within an arm’s length), they are pretty fun! I almost never know who wins, which doesn’t really matter as it’s usually the Storm. And, Sue Bird is legitimately attractive and a total bad ass.
The real reason I am writing this post is because of one Miss Brittney Griner. For those of you who don’t know, Brittney Griner is an amazing college basketball player at Baylor University, who was the first overall pick by the Phoenix Mercury in this year’s WNBA draft (huh, just learned that other sports have “drafts”). She has also won the Naismith Trophy as the outstanding women’s basketball player in 2012 and 2013. She could very well go on to be one of the best players in WNBA history. As it turns out, she’s also a lesbian. This is her:
I find it interesting that we have spent (and are continuing to spend) a lot of time discussing Jason Collins coming out, yet we hardly spend any time discussing one of the most promising new athletes in professional sports. In fact, Brittney Griner also wrote up a great piece in The New York Times yesterday discussing her personal coming out story and how it influences her life (and sports career) today. In the article, Griner discusses how she was “thrilled” when Jason Collins came out and views it as a great influence for loving and accepting each other for who we are. She then goes on to write about her experiences with bullying and coming out at a young age (9th grade). It’s a great article that I encourage you all to take a look at! Also, I applaud her for coming out in 9th grade! By that age I was still convincing myself that I like-liked girls, yet also listened to Britney Spears on repeat. It’s just a phase they said…I will like vaginas they said…
For me, personally, I’m left wondering why a male basketball player gets his face on the cover of a magazine and seemingly endless attention from the media, all because he came out — yet, we don’t ever see these stories of women coming out in the sport’s world. It’s almost like it’s a given in professional sports that the majority of women are lesbians and gay men simply don’t play sports. So, when a stereotype is flipped on its head, we’re like “WHOA, WHAT! Did you guys hear that not everything is the same all the time?”
Yet, we really should be talking about the entire spectrum here. While there are more “out” lesbians in the WNBA, the majority are still straight women. I think it’s important for everyone to share their stories, because every person’s life and experiences are different and the more we hear and read about how people are DIFFERENT, the more we can learn to accept and grow. Not all lesbians are the same, just as not all gay men are the same (I can’t even say that all gay men have a deep love for body glitter which is absolutely INSANE). Let’s start TALKING about how we can make our world (even if we are focusing on the sports world) a better place. A place where a girl who is a great athlete isn’t called a “man” or has to prove that she’s a girl by showing her vagina. A place where a gay male athlete can come out and be himself without having to wait 34 years. Or, hopefully, just a place where being gay doesn’t define you — it’s simply a part of what makes you beautiful.
Anyway, cheers to both Brittney Griner and Jason Collins for being themselves and showing young people that, no matter your sexual orientation, you can grow up to kick major ass! Also, what kind of team name is Phoenix Mercury? Is that a type of car?