First and foremost we at BLAM want to say congratulations to Sheryl Swoopes on her engagement. We truly wish you wedded bliss as you journey the road less traveled to deepen your understanding of self through marriage. We always say that marriage is for grown folks and that ain’t no lie. If you allow it..marriage will also grow you up as you encounter the increased responsibility of tending to more than just yourself. As you’re becoming “grown” in marriage your life will certainly take all sorts of twist and turns which will hopefully strengthen your marital resolve. Although Sheryl has not yet began her 2nd marriage, the recent announcement of her engagement is viewed as a MAJOR twist in her life. Some are for it and some are against it. In the end, we at BLAM hope that you’ve found true love.
By Maya Rupert
This year, Sheryl Swoopes, the three-time WNBA MVP and the first player to be signed with the league when it was created, announced her engagement to a man. This announcement comes six years after she received a lot of media attention after coming out when she announced her relationship with then-partner Alisa Scott.
Since her announcement, some people have questioned her sexual orientation. The news of her engagement has prompted some negative coverage and reactions that accuse her of, essentially, not being gay anymore. One headline calls Swoopes “NSGAA,” or “not so gay after all,” suggesting that because Swoopes isn’t currently in a same-sex relationship, she was never “really” a lesbian or she is “no longer” a lesbian. The problem is that this approach relies solely on her current relationship status to define her identity.
It’s a popular way to conceptualize sexual orientation, but an entirely incorrect and harmful one. The idea that at any given time, a person’s sexual orientation is a function of their current romantic relationship erases bisexuality completely, misunderstands how identity works, and simply misses the point. This conflation of a person’s current romantic relationship with their identity is a big part of why the “B” in LGBT has remained virtually invisible in the sports world and in the broader culture. Even as Sheryl may choose to not use a label of any kind, it is time to know that bisexual people — yes, even in sports — are a reality and valued members of our communities.
Interestingly, as I’ve found myself defending Swoopes in the wake of her announcement, I’ve noticed that the argument is shockingly similar to another point of controversy in professional basketball. In order to understand Swoopes’ identity in a way that can envision this type of fluidity, you have to understand the role and value of a combo guard.
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