When will sports finally be out?
We may be entering the final frontier.
Last week, during an interview with Out Magazine, American Olympic soccer player Megan Rapinoe confirmed that she is a lesbian, something that her friends, family, and yes, teammates have known for some time.
"I think they were trying to be respectful and that it's my job to say, 'I'm gay.' Which I am. For the record: I am gay," Rapinoe said, stressing that no one had ever before directly queried her about her sexual orientation.
Because why would they? Come to think of it, why would anyone ask that of another human being in 2012?
Set aside for a moment how incredibly intrusive that question is; why we are so wrapped up in who someone sleeps with defies logic and just plain tact. Are heterosexual teammates somehow better than homosexual ones? The last time I checked, sports were performed between the lines, not between the sheets.
But of course, we do still live in a society that mostly denies part of our citizenry the basic human right to marry as they desire, so perhaps we do have a misguided sense that somehow someone else's sexual orientation is any of our damn business.
"I feel like sports in general are still homophobic, in the sense that not a lot of people are out," Rapinoe continued. "I feel everyone is really craving [for] people to come out. People want — they need — to see that there are people like me playing soccer for the good ol' U.S. of A."
But Rapinoe is hardly alone. There have been gay athletes for generations, yet the vast majority of the ones we know about are women from individual sports.
Tennis superstars Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova both were revealed to be lesbians in 1981; King because of a palimony lawsuit brought forth by a former girlfriend, Navratilova volunteered the information freely.
There have been others. Golfers Rosie Jones, Patty Sheehan, and Sandra Haynie (who once dated Navratilova) are all openly gay. Tennis players Gigi Fernandez and Amelie Mauresmo are too. Olympic softball infielder Vicki Galindo's admission of her lesbianism and her teammates "unconditionally supportive" attitude helped catcher Lauren Lappin come out as well.
Four-time Olympic gold medal diver Greg Louganis so far is the most prominent male gay athlete, but today, 18 years after his revelation, that there has yet to be a similar proclamation from someone approaching his stature defies basic arithmetic.
Why is this?
There have been other men that have made similar announcements as their female counterparts, with two stark contrasts. One, as mentioned, there has been no one close to the status of Louganis to declare his homosexuality. Secondly, no one has dared make such announcement while still an active player.
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I don't care either. However, one of the factors that make sexual orienation a big deal are things like Pridefest. Gays should not expect others to stop making it a big deal if they can't stop themselves.
Why would anyone care about their sexual orientation? I certainly do not...it's just great watching these athletes do what they do.
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