Saturday, October 29, 2005

Thoughts on Sheryl Swoopes...

After reading the Sheryl Swoopes coming out article, yes, I was fairly surprised. Not just because she was married (to a man) and had a son, but also because she claimed that she "chose" to be gay. I find this hard to believe quite frankly, (oh no, I'm starting to sound like Screamin' A. Smith!) because I don't believe that you can choose to be gay, regardless of what Sheryl Swoopes says. I know it's a bit pretentious to say that I know what her specific situation is, which I don't, but I couldn't help getting the sense that she was still a little confused about how exactly she came to this point in her life. She said she "didn't do this to be a hero" and I agree. Most people, regardless of how tolerant you or I are toward gay people, are still pretty homophobic in this country, and more people will probably look down on her with scorn than will think she's a hero. But just the way she described growing up, always wanting to play with her brothers in what seemed like a pretty macho sibling rivalry, never wanting to act as other girls acted, the fact that her mother was and is a very Christian person. All this leads me to think that all these years she was just repressing who she really was in order to appease her family for fear that they wouldn't love her. It was nice to hear that they still do, even though her mother came off as sounding a little disappointed, yet resigned. (She supposedly said "I figured" when Swoopes told her.) It's no secret that there are many lesbians in the WNBA: Teresa Wetherspoon has long been open about it. The surprising thing is that though women can still feel ashamed even with all the openly gay teammates around them. The best thing to come out of this was that Swoopes's sponsors and the commissioner of the WNBA both came out and said essentially "no big deal." Hopefully this will help other women be honest and open about themselves. Make no mistake however, we are still a long looooong way from having any professional male athlete come out during his playing career. The most prominent male athlete to come out so far is that Samoan offensive-lineman who used to play for the Packers (Esera Tuaolo), but he came out well after he was done playing.