Sheryl Denise Swoopes (born March 25, 1971) is a retired American professional basketball player and the head coach of the women’s basketball team of Loyola University Chicago. She was the first player to be signed in the WNBA when it was created. She has won three Olympic Gold Medals and is a three-time WNBA MVP. Frequently referred to as the “female Michael Jordan,” Swoopes is famous for both her offensive and defensive skills. In 2011, she was voted in by fans as one of the Top 15 players in WNBA history.
wiki info on Ms. Swoopes vis a vis relationship(s) :
Swoopes was married from June 1995 to 1999 to her high school sweetheart, with whom she had a son, Jordan Eric Jackson in 1997. In October 2005, with her announcement that she is gay, Swoopes became one of the highest profile athletes in a team sport to do so publicly. She and her partner, former basketball player and Houston Comets assistant coach, Alisa Scott, whom Swoopes at the time said she would like to someday marry, together raised Swoopes’s son, Jordan.
Swoopes said “it doesn’t change who I am. I can’t help who I fall in love with. No one can. … Discovering I’m gay just sort of happened much later in life. Being intimate with [Alisa] or any other woman never entered my mind. At the same time, I’m a firm believer that when you fall in love with somebody, you can’t control that.”
In 2008, Sheryl Swoopes made an appearance on Shirts & Skins, a reality series from the television channel LOGO. Swoopes flew out to mentor the San Francisco Rockdogs, a gay basketball team, and shared her experiences on basketball, family, faith, and coming out, helping to bring the team closer together.
As of 2009, Swoopes has been coaching the girls basketball team at Mercer Island High School, while head coach Jamie Prescott has been on maternity leave.
As of 2011, Swoopes had broken up with Alisa Scott and was reportedly engaged to Christopher Unclesho.
Sheryl Swoopes: NSGAA (Not so gay after all?)
So let me get this straight because the story has so many twists and turns, Sheryl Swoopes is married for 4 years to her high school sweetheart, (1995-1999) then later has a 6 year (2005-2011) relationship with a woman (Alisa Scott) but she is not considered bisexual in the media or self-identifies that way. Then in 2011 breaks up with Ms. Scott, and is engaged to one Christopher Unclesho. So in the mainstream and general LGBT media she is called a lie-sexual, an ex-lesbian, former practicing lesbian, no longer a lesbian, now un-gay. She has been de-gayed as the extreme conservative Christian evangelical-fundamentalist movement might say, etc. Any demeaning title, libelous label, derogatory epithet except what she actually is, in terms of behavior. Ugh. Makes one want to give up fighting for bi visibility. The recent public opinion poll in which 15% of the people answered that being bi is not a legitimate orientation would fit right in with this story.*** People would rather admit to anything else these days, call me a communist, an atheist, or gay but not bi! Alright, I am dating myself throwing around labels from the 1950s that were the death knell in society but the point is made.
Perhaps if being bi was an innocuous as the colour of one’s eyes things might be different with Ms. Swoopes and the media. In that world her public pronouncement might have been:
“Well I have had long term (as in multi-year) fulfilling relationships with both genders over my adult life, so I guess that means I am bi”.
Above = link to the survey referenced. Short piece explaining it succinctly for those interested.
Thought I should include a picture of Ms. Swoopes in the post and when I was searching for one, this picture struck me as perfectly ironic. One of my hobbyhorses is the lack of role models for bi people, so the photo of someone who could have been one with that caption seemed fitting. Suppose you are a young female (of any race), into sports wondering about your sexuality, how cool would it be to have a famous athlete to look up to?
Secondly, her quote is blurred on the cover page, which was a nice little reminder of where we are with bi visibility: hidden, obfuscation, sub secreto, erased etc.