Brittney Griner

Yesterday I saw two types of sports related articles, both of which included references to athlete’s and their sexuality. First there was the Kerry Rhodes “outing” done by his former assistant/alleged lover, Mr. Hollywood.  I only  have one word for this so-called “assistant”, who felt betrayed by Rhodes when he denied being gay, MESSY. Sometimes I don’t understand why people feel the need to lead a dual life by being in the closet, but I also understand it’s their life and they can lead it anyway they please.  But to be messy and go on a gossip station and air his dirty laundry was uncalled for. The social media reaction to the mess was equally disturbing, but I’m sure you can figure out on your own the defamatory remarks about Rhodes’ alleged lifestyle. And this is exactly why some people continue to stay “in”.

Brittney Griner, the star Baylor basketball player on her way to the WNBA, is a different story. In a recent video interview with Sports Illustrated, Griner discussed openly for the first time her own sexuality. SI host Maggie Gray asked the question, “Why is there a difference between men and women in that issue?”, the issue being sexuality.

“I really couldn’t give an answer on why that’s so different,” Griner said. “Being one that’s out, it’s just being who you are. Again, like I said, just be who you are. Don’t worry about what other people are going to say, because they’re always going to say something, but, if you’re just true to yourself, let that shine through. Don’t hide who you really are.”

“It really wasn’t too difficult,” Griner added in response to a question on how difficult the decision was to come out.

“I wouldn’t say I was hiding or anything like that,” the former Baylor University star continued.  ”I’ve always been open about who I am and my sexuality. So, it wasn’t hard at all. If I can show that I’m out and I’m fine and everything’s OK, then hopefully the younger generation will definitely feel the same way.”

It seems as though in our society, there’s less stigma attached to women athletes being out, especially when there are already so many stereotypes about women in certain sports to begin with.  I can’t remember how many times people assumed because I played a certain sport that I was gay. But I wasn’t one to get offended when asked, I just brushed it off as their own ignorance. In college, there were lesbian basketball players and were there just as many straight ones.  For people to say, “Oh well, I figured Brittney was gay”, is just about as ignorant as publicly outing someone.

I applaud Brittney for speaking honestly about her sexuality, but to you “Mr. Hollywood”, you sir get the gas face with your messy ass.



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  • Rob

    LOL ! Like we didn’t know. WOW… Another WNBA player comes out REALLY BIG NEWS. NEXT STORY !

    • RIGHT! most of the female basketball players are lesbian.

  • Nikki T

    Once again, comments on Clutch alienating our LGBT brothers and sisters. The article posed a question regarding why “coming out” looks different for female athletes compared to male athletes. And it was praising Brittney Griner for being openly out. As a straight person, I cannot begin to understand what it takes to come out. But having many friends who have (and who still are) come out, it’s not always a simple process.

    Secondly, making assumptions about someone’s sexual orientation based on stereotypes is ignorant. And to the person who said it would be heteronormative to think that this lady may be straight, that is false. Being heteronormative means going through life blanketing everyone as heterosexual. In reality what should occur is that we shouldn’t assign sexual preference to anyone (regardless of how feminine or masculine they may appear or act) until the person chooses to tell you what their sexual preference is.

    Finally, while I certainly do not believe in comparing the LGBT experience to the Black experience (or comparing any marginalized groups’ experiences because each has it’s own challenges), I do think at least one similarity is people’s desire to being able to box others. People want to look at someone and know if they are Black (or any other ethnicity) because they do not like racial ambiguity. In the same way, people look at someone and want to be able to check off the gay or straight box (completely disregarding the fact sexuality is a spectrum, but that’s another conversation for another day, that clearly folks aren’t ready to have) because they do not like sexual ambiguity.

    This was meant to be a positive, uplifting piece that had the potential to open up some interesting dialogue about sexuality and athletes. Instead the conversation has devolved into one of “duh, we all knew she was gay”…

    • Dallas

      The only one who gets it.

    • did anyone actually say anything about heteronormative in any of the earlier comments? And is not being surprised that someone is gay the same as assuming that they were in fact gay? Is it possible that the people that would be surprised are the ones that would be guilty of making assumptions of heterosexuality? Finally, are you denying that there are cultural aspects of being LGBT? And if there are, would generalizations based on exhibiting any characteristics of said culture be statistically valid?

    • Nikki T

      I’m sorry Ravi, but I’m legitimately confused about the questions you’re posing and how they relate at all to my original post. My answers are as follows: Yes someone did use the term heteronormative. Yes not being surprise that someone is gay does assume they are gay, which is exactly the point I argue against. And again, yes stating that if you are the type of person who would say that you are not surprise that someone is gay, it’s highly likely (please note I’m not implying there is a causal relationship here) you would be the type of person to make assumptions regarding heterosexuality. And absolutely no, there are cultural aspects to being LGBT, I never said and I would never say such a thing. I was simply saying that you cannot compare the experiences of marginalized folks on a one to one scale. And to your last question, that would depend on the type of model you develop to test such a theory, your data, and so on and so forth. But you strike as the type of person who would know that setting up such a statistically valid social experiment would be difficult.

    • The questions relate to your post in that they are getting at a better understanding of where you are coming from. I honestly could not find any place in the above comments where anyone even mentioned “heteronormative” so your second paragraph was confusing to say the least.

      Most of the questions were rhetorical. Not being surprised that someone turns out to be gay does not necessitate that you assumed they were gay. If you don’t actually assign a sexual preference until someone chooses to reveal, then you shouldn’t be surprised by what they tell you. Not making any assumptions about someone’s sexuality makes it not very surprising when their sexuality is revealed. It seems that anyone that is surprised by her coming out was likely assuming she was straight. That is the essence of a heteronormative view.

      I wasn’t suggesting a social experiment, just using generalizations to make intelligent inferences. All humans make generalizations in a manner that would likely cause us to infer the likelihood that we are dealing with a member of that group in future occurrences. If you were to see a person in a police uniform, it would be a pretty reasonable assumption that they are a police officer. This is because police officers disproportionately wear police uniforms; this is what I was terming a statistically valid generalization. No need to perform any sort of experiment.

      Similarly, if there are any cultural aspects to being LGBTQ, then it goes to reason that they would exhibit those behavior patterns at a disproportionate rate. I’m not saying that this would be determinative, but it certainly makes for a reasonable assumption and cause not to be surprised. An example of this would be cross dressing. Given, there are many drag queens that are straight, but I’m not going to be surprised if I find out that Ru Paul is gay. I truthfully don’t know his sexual orientation, but it definitely won’t shock me to find out he was gay. It wouldn’t surprise me if he turned out to be bi or straight either. The only people that are going to be surprised are the ones that were already making assumptions.

    • Nikki again I am a “heterosexual” black male and proud of it! You get it?

    • Women who dress with they ass all hanging out, then get offended when they are disrespected by men, that is the attention you bring on yourself. People assume you are a skanky slut because you leave nothing to the imagination…same difference. Some Gay folks dress a certain way and you can’t help but to assume they are Gay. The the way I see it, regardless if they come out the closet or not, If you dress like a dude, and have swagger like a dude, wear your hair like a dude, and attempt to minimize your breast, people will assume you are gay. Now I want ask because it’s none of my business, but if the conversation comes up, I will assume, and for a person to get upset, then maybe they shouldn’t dress a certain way, or even talk a certain way if they are in fact a heterosexual. Any who, I still have no problem on what they choose.

  • Misty_Moonsilver

    Is anyone actually surprised?

  • talaktochoba

    sad…very, very sad;

    if women were meant to be with women, why would we need men?

    and any man who is not with a woman can never be a real man, just merely male…or else there’s no need for women;

    don’t take it out on me, i didn’t invent either sex…but i do know if either sex’ biological purpose is not served, there will be a price to be paid in future–the price of evolution;

    just ask our fangs and our tails, when you find them…

    • Quelqu’un

      …I don’t think you really know much about evolution.

  • Nikki T

    Ravi, I couldn’t respond to the thread so I’m starting a new one (and then I’m done, I’m more than happy to let you have the last word). I’ll start by saying that I I promise you that I saw the word heteronormative, those aren’t terms you see being tossed around the internet on a regular basis. But, fine, we’ll call it a moot point. I appreciate your clarification and I understand where you’re coming from. However, I think you know as well I that this whole “I’m not surprised to hear she’s gay” commentary is not rooted in this “I’m not making any assumptions about her sexuality” ideal. It’s coming from a place where people have assumed that she was gay and therefore are not shock to hear that she is in fact gay. And just the same, being surprise to find out she was gay would mean that you’ve assumed she was straight, I agree with you there. Surprise in either direction would mean an assumption was made. I was specifically addressing those comments about not being surprised because one, it wasn’t the point of the article and two, it was based on stereotypes.

    As far as these intellectual inferences, while I agree we as humans do this, it can quickly become a slippery slope of relying on stereotypes to drive these inferences. For example, someone could statistically demonstrate that particularly group of people disproportionately commit a certain type of crime. Sure, that’s what the numbers show but we’ve seen the result of relying on such inferences…you get my drift, I’m sure. I’m not saying it’s not a reasonable to make assumptions based on data (real data mind you) but it can quickly take a negative turn.

    Finally, I think you’re misinterpreting my point. The default of not being surprised isn’t necessarily being surprised. I was neither surprised or not surprised to find out this young lady is gay, I simply took it in as a piece of information. So I’m not saying people should have been surprised.

    • Look you two Nikki T and Ravi it’s simple anyone with a ounce of sense who have follow her over the years and watch how she carry herself is not surprise that she say she is gay it makes no sense to make something so simple complicated! This is not rocket science!

    • Considering I was one of the first to express my lack of surprise, I’m sure I don’t know that the commentary is not coming from a place of not making assumptions. For my part, I wouldn’t be surprised either way. I can’t speak for everyone else that expressed a lack of surprise, but I wouldn’t assume everyone necessarily assumed she was gay.

      I agree it can become a slippery slope, but that usually occurs when people think a given set of characteristics are determinative. Like with my cross dressing example, if one was to assume that a person was necessarily gay because they were a cross dresser then that would be problematic. If someone were to think a person was more likely gay than not based on exhibiting such behavior, then not so problematic.

      I don’t think I misunderstood you so much as I don’t think there is a third option between being surprised and not being surprised. If you are not surprised then you are not surprised reflexively and seemingly by definition. I don’t know that it is possible to be not surprised and not not surprised. I appears that by saying people should not express a lack of surprise that it follows that they should be surprised. Now if there is a way to be not surprised and not not surprised, then I would probably agree with you. In any case, well played.