Six years after three-time WNBA MVP Sheryl Swoopes came out, announcing her relationship with then-girlfriend Alisa Scott, she has announced that she’s engaged … to a man. Cue the confusion. She’s been called everything from “no longer” a lesbian to NSGAA (“not so gay after all”). The Huffington Post’s Maya Rupert says this approach erroneously relies on Swoopes’ current relationship status to define her identity. And if you’re more familiar with sports than you are with the nuances of sexual orientation, she has a basketball analogy for you.
Read a few excerpts here:
This conflation of a person’s current romantic relationship with their identity is a big part of why the “B” in LGBT has remained virtually invisible in the sports world and in the broader culture …
Interestingly, as I’ve found myself defending Swoopes in the wake of her announcement, I’ve noticed that the argument is shockingly similar to another point of controversy in professional basketball. In order to understand Swoopes’ identity in a way that can envision this type of fluidity, you have to understand the role and value of a combo guard.
A combo guard is a guard who combines skills associated with both a point guard (excellent ball-handling and an ability to make plays and set up teammates to score) and a shooting guard (primary scorer on the floor). A combo guard is often listed as a point guard, but does not play as a pure or typical point guard …
But it’s a mistake to think that we can take a snapshot of a person’s relationship at a given moment and assume we can tell their identity, just like it’s a mistake to think we can take a snapshot of a person’s role on a court at a given moment and determine their position. We don’t ask for that type of rigidity in basketball, and we cannot ask for it in identity.
Read more at the Huffington Post.
In other news: VIDEO: Debt Deal Declares War on Poor?