Friday, April 19, 2013

Celebrity Friday: Brittney Griner, Lesbian Basketball Star

Brittney Griner was drafted #1 into the WNBA this week and during interviews with the media she casually mentioned that she is openly gay. And the media shrugged.

Briner gave this quote to the Associated Press:
''It was hard. Just being picked on for being different. Just being bigger, my sexuality, everything,'' said the 6-foot-8 Griner, who acknowledged she is a lesbian. ''I overcame it and got over it. Definitely something that I am very passionate about. I want to work with kids and bring recognition to the problem, especially with the LGBT community."
The New York Times analyzed the muted reaction to Griner's public coming out and determined the reason to be a murky mix of sexism and homophobia:
 "In sports right now, there are two different stereotypes — that there are no gay male athletes, and every female athlete is a lesbian,” Burke said. “We’ve had tremendous success in getting straight male players to speak to the issue; we’re having a tougher time finding straight female athletes speaking on this issue because they’ve spent their entire careers fighting the perception that they’re a lesbian.” 
Kluwe, a punter for the Minnesota Vikings, said, “I think it’s clear that there’s reverse stereotyping, if you want to call it that, going on, as well as the general sexism.”
Not surprisingly, Kluwe added that he did not think it was likely that the reaction to Griner’s decision to come out would have much of an impact on any male athlete considering a similar revelation, if only because the experience figures to be so different. And that, of course, is the problem, Burke said. 
“We’re all waiting for the first gay, male, active athlete in a major professional team sport in North America to come out,” Burke said. “That’s something like eight adjectives or descriptors. We’re all ignoring people who don’t fit into those exact adjectives, and it’s frustrating that we don’t recognize the enormously important contributions that are already being made.”
Even though it is unfortunate that Griner's coming out is playing into stereotypes that all female athletes are lesbian, it is still an important moment for open participation in professional sports by LGBT people.

Now, I wonder if the Houston Rockets owner Mark Cuban will still consider Griner trying out for ihs NBA team?

Hat/tip to Kenneth in the (212) 

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