"Being gay has nothing to do with the three gold medals or the three MVPs or the four championships I've won. I'm still the same person. I'm still Sheryl."
The Most Valuable Player of the Women's National Basketball Association has come out as a lesbian. Sheryl Swoopes, the Michael Jordan of the WNBA, said that she wanted to be free and was tired of living a lie. Additionally, she will be the spokesperson for Olivia, a cruise ship company catering to lesbians.
"To me, the most important thing is happiness. I could have all the endorsements and all the money in the world, but if I'm not happy with who I am, that other stuff is not going to make me happy either. I know I've got to deal with the consequences of coming out, but I feel like I'll be able to be free. To be me."
Swoopes's coming out is all the more important because she is African American. Recently, GLBT activist Keith Boykin was banned from speaking at the Millions More March, an African American rally. Most of the major figures who have come out have also been white, leading to an invisibility for GLBT African Americans, that makes it easier to discriminate.
"I mean, you have Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O'Donnell, but you don't have your well-known gay African-American who's come out, Not to my knowledge," Swoopes said. "I know it's not accepted in the black community. I know I'll probably take a lot of flak. But in all honesty, that's not my biggest concern. "
The only thing irritating about her coming out is Swoopes insisting that her homosexuality was not inborn.
"I didn't always know I was gay. I honestly didn't. Do I think I was born this way? No. And that's probably confusing to some, because I know a lot of people believe that you are."
I must admit that female sexuality sometimes baffles me. You would never hear a guy say he didn't always know he was gay, unless he had a birth defect and his equipment wasn't working. Although the vast majority of lesbians I know believe they were born gay and always knew, I have heard several say they had no idea until they fell in love. All I can do is scratch my head in bewilderment.
Nevertheless, Swoopes took a brave step and the GLBT community should be thankful for her courage. To come out after an MVP season makes her announcement even more gutsy. Thank you Sheryl, you are an inspiration to millions of people and you will surely help thousands of people and even save lives. The most important thing a GLBT person can do is come out, and you have made it easier for people still struggling with living honestly and openly.
Finally, when will a guy who is still playing in one of the major sports leagues have the balls to come out of the closet? I know it will be difficult, but guess what, you are still rich and have it a lot easier than working class folks who come out every day at the factory or police department. In the coming out battle of the sexes, us guys are getting our whimpering little asses kicked. Come on, we need to provide role models for millions of young men! The time to come out is now.
She says it is a choice? Well fuck that Tom Boy, basketball playing, butch bitch. I'm so sick of these spoiled stars that say dumb ass things. Instead of going on a cruise, she should have gotten a PR agent!
?!?!?! Amazing, y'all. She has the courage to share her own personal story as she experiences it. She didn't actually say "it's a choice". She says she doesn't know. Just because we're all LGBT people doesn't mean we are going to experience ourselves the same way. Some people always know. . .other people discover their sexuality. WE have no right to blame someone for experiencing life differently than ourselves - that's what the homophobes are for!
F.S & S.B.: So you two were born heterosexual? I knew I was gay when I was 6 years old. Nobody taught me to be gay. I came from a loving family, two devoted parents. I never played with girls toys either, played football, basketball, tennis in school and had a lot of friends, both male and female well into my teens to this day. I didn't suddenly wake up and say..."hey I'm gay". It was as natural to me as it was for you when you discovered you were heterosexual, nothing more.
You right wingers seem to think you speak for your god. Well, your scriptures were written by "men". You should look closer at everything the bible quotes. There are many references aimed at you heterosexuals that you should take note of when it comes to morality, most of which you choose to omit to suit your own agenda. You're nothing but judgmental, self-righteous hypocrites of the worst kind. Go to www.fallwell.com and you will see those unpleasant references to YOUR behavior that you conveniently choose to avoid.
I admire Swoopes, yet not knowing if she were always gay...hmmm, sounds a bit like the conflict Anne Heche had coming out. Of course she knew, all along, its about denial, suppression in the subconscious. Everyone is at a different level in coming out, easy for some, difficult for others.
If Jesus Christ appeared on earth and announced he were gay, what would all of those bigots on the right do about it? They are nothing but a bunch of neurotic, envious morons wresting with their own demons about sexuality, otherwise, why are they so obsessed with it more than we are? It seems to preoccupy their lives 24/7, its a front for something else going on.
swoopes isn't gay. she is doing this as a publicity stunt.
posted by Anonymous, at
10/31/2005 2:35 PM
I'm confused, here.
I thought it was a good thing to come out, to be true to who you are.
Then when a woman does, yet says that she doesn't believe she was born that way, we're upset when she says so honestly?
Double standard...we like the truth when it's what we want to hear.
(BTW, I know Mr. Besen knows many gay men...but there are gay men he apparently doesn't know who do not feel they were born that way whatsoever.)
My worry when Ms. Swoopes said her "not born that way" comments was that she wasn't going to ingratiate herself with the mainstream GLBT community. Being allowed to tell the truth about why you believe you developed your attractions (though I'm not sure that happened in the ESPN interview) is about as popular with that community as Elian Gonzalez talking about freedom he witnessed in America would be to Fidel Castro.
posted by KJW, at
11/01/2005 10:07 AM
"You would never hear a guy say he didn't always know he was gay, unless he had a birth defect and his equipment wasn't working"??? Well, you're hearing one now.
My "equipment" worked just fine, but it worked only with women at first, because it hadn't occurred to me to look at guys that way, to give them a chance. Then I realized there were other possibilities to choose from - yes, I said choose - and I chose to explore them. Yes, the repercussions have been hellish - and people like you and half your commenters here going around denying the possibility of choice certainly haven't made it any easier. But it wouldn't have been intellectually honest of me to leave the possibility unexplored once I'd recognized it and recognized that there was no reason in the world other than cowardly fear of societal disapproval not to explore it.
And in the end, it's been worth any amount of hell, just to know that I've found the courage to live by my convictions and explore my sexual potential to the fullest. Plus, if I hadn't, I wouldn't have my hot boyfriend!
posted by Juan, at
11/04/2005 1:38 AM
When the women's league first began I fell in love with the houston comets and Sheryl Swoopes. I admired her leadership and integrity on the court and the classiness she displayed as a femanine, and respectful woman off the court. I will still respect her game on the court because she is one of the best to ever play the game. But off the court i don't believe i can look up to her the way i use to. The idea that she is a classy and vibrant woman and mother is no longer portrayed in her image (at least not to me).
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