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May 24, 2006

Comments

sam

Why stop at the gays? We're like the last frontier, or something. I would imagine that this woman should also be worrying that her daughter might be on the team with girls of other religions or - worse - athiests, unwed mothers and those who have fornicated. What do you tell the children? The parents?

Carol

Sam . . . I think you misunderstood where "this woman" was coming from when "she" (i.e., me) asked the questions. I'm not worrying about my daughter. I'm worrying about other parents' daughters, young women who feel like they have to hide an important part of their life if they want to play basketball at elite levels. I'm worrying about the fact that the topic is so sensitive and heated that people can barely talk about it without falling into insults, one side yelling "DEVIANT!" and the other "HOMOPHOBE!", or else falling into stony silence where nobody says anything.

I asked Hugo the questions because I thought that he is uniquely qualified to talk about in a way that no one else on the Internet is talking. I want people to talk about it in a different way that they've been talking about it. I want to see women's sports get to the point where coaches, parents, fans and young athletes don't worry about it. Right now, they do. You and I might agree that they shouldn't, but, as a matter of fact, they do.

And thanks to Hugo for tackling it. I really appreciate it, and I hope that the dialog doesn't stop here.

Hugo

Carol, I hope that this was a helpful start!

mythago

Hugo, I'm not sure you're going to get past an essential problem for those conservative parents--the issue of rigid gender roles, and their perceived link to heterosexuality. They're not worried about lesbian basketball players because of a newspaper story; they're worried because sweaty, hard-working, athletic pursuits aren't feminine. And not-feminine, of course, means probably lesbian.

elizabeth

I am saddened to see such an important topic met with such apathy which in contrast, the suggestion of men in a wymyn's studies class being somehow limited is met with over a hundred fevered comments.

Hiding one's sexual orientation in regards to sports is equally important to maintaining one's gender stereotypes. Female gender roles in sports are not enforced by Christians, but by everyone. The history of female organized and continuing sports is one of waiting on the sidelines; or "allowed" with such restrictions that to place the same on men would be laughable - essentially those who organize and fund events (men) do not want to risk women seeming unladylike.

The main arguements which almost kept women's marathons out of the olympics was the thought that women would be seen collapsing, bleeding or otherwise "not looking thier best", this is still seen in Radcliff's victory last year in the marathon where she cut minutes off the world record but was heavily criticised for taking a public pee. From ice skating, gymnastics or basketball - how you present yourself IS as important as how you play. Swoops didn't come out until she already had sponsership from Olivia cruise lines (a lesbian cruise line firm) because she knew that like all other lesbian athletes, her sponsership would dry up, quickly followed by her career, and that no one, not even the "feminists" would really care that much.

Until everyone, particularly feminists, recognize that women pushing themselves to thier fullest potential does not make them "mannish" or any less a woman, regardless of who they are attracted to, then at best, they rob themselves and thier daughters the chance of dreaming and at worst, they have left a portion of women in the gutter because they found it socially convienant.

SamChevre

It is probably a different fear, but it's closely related. In my area, the perceived-as-lesbian sport is softball, and based on first-person stories I've heard, in some cases there has been pressure on team members to participate in sexual activity that was unwelcome. The general pressure on athletes (from coaches and team-mates) to be "part of the team" is great; I don't think anyone will disagree with me in saying that "being part of the team" does not and should not include "being open to sexual advances from team-mates".

Hugo

No argument from me there, Sam. As long as you'll concede that we ought do nothing to try and exclude lesbians from sport, I'll be happy to insist that all athletes, regardless of sex or sexual identity, should be protected from unwanted advances from ANYONE.

SamChevre

I don't view it as a concession--I certainly agree that nothing should be done to exclude lesbians from sports.

Q Grrl

Suddenly... I feel so validated. Carol, do you also worry about lesbian professors, lesbian RA's, lesbian housecleaners, lesbian librarians (!), lesbian safety officers, lesbian bus drivers... ah, the list is so hopelessly endless. Perhaps your worry would best be lessened by insisting that all good christian girls go to private christian colleges where it is still legal to openly bar enrollment of lesbians. Easy, peasy, pie!

But, you do know that we recruit, right? Actively. And as soon as the general hetero-sexual population figures out what our recruiting pool is, we change the game up. I hear professional golf is on the short list these days. But have no fears, as soon as we exhaust sports, we're taking over the League of Women Voters.

Hugo

Q, unless I'm very mistaken, Carol isn't being homophobic. She's asking how we can work to overcome the fears of conservative Christian folks about women's sports in general. Her solution is not "purge the lesbians".

Q Grrl

Unless, *I'm* mistaken, Carol is hiding behind other Christians to deflect her homophobia, but hey, what do I know about lesbo-fear?

Look, the issue isn't lesbians. Or sports. Or being judgemental. The issue is fear. Personal fears are addressable within the Christian ethos, and should be! Mistaking personal fear for a social phenomena gets a little dicey and leaves fear intact, with it's concommitent reactionary view towards life.

Brittany

I don't think there is anything wrong with being a lesbian.
Either way God still loves you for who you are. Sheryl Swoopes if you read this just know that no matter what other people may say or think, I will always look up to you.
You will always be my favorite player. " Remember",
It's not what people say or think about you that makes you different; It is what God says that matters most.

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