Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Swoopes Complications


"Now this is going to piss off a lot of lesbians."

That's what I first thought when I heard that basketball star Sheryl Swoopes is engaged to a man.  Swoopes came out in 2005 in an interview with ESPN The Magazine, and immediately became an Olivia-endorsing lesbian of fame.

When she played for the WNBA's Seattle Storm in 2008, her then-partner Alisa Scott would often be there, sitting courtside.  I know—I looked for her every game from my seat.

Obviously the relationship didn't last, as Swoopes is now set to marry a man named Chris, someone she's known for a while, reported Mechelle Voepel on ESPN.com.

Voepel wrote, "There are sure to be gay people who are annoyed at and disappointed with Swoopes. Who feel she has co-opted and trivialized what for many is a sacred, soul-searching, life-altering experience of coming out."

Yup.  And I was one of them, till I thought about the matter more.  I've long said that sexuality is complicated; now I have to accept the truth of that, and get past any feelings of betrayal.  Nuts.

Voepel said she wasn't surprised by the news.  "There were things Swoopes said in her initial interview [in 2005] that had made me think her relationship then was about what kind of person Scott was and how their lives meshed together, regardless of whether Scott was male or female."

The word for that is bisexual, and I think our community would still come out ahead if Swoopes publically called herself that.  Perhaps she could have "bisexual" printed on the back of her Tulsa Shock jersey.  Just an idea.

Swoopes told Voepel, "There is nothing I've been through in my life that I regret, or that I would go back and change. I feel like everything that happened--personally and professionally--I went through for a reason, and I learned from those things."

From her latest incarnation, we might learn a thing or two about the complexity of orientation.  I'm willing.  No really.