The WNBA has often been a trailblazer for LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport. The league proceeds to be a single of the most persistently inclusive and progressive leagues in the brings about it supports, the enthusiasts it attracts, and the willingness of its players to live their lives with Pleasure.
The league celebrates its once-a-year #WNBAPRIDE month with routines and recognitions throughout the WNBA’s 12 marketplaces and outside of. Let’s look at some of the seminal moments in league history that have shown commitment to variety, fairness, and inclusion.
June 2001 – The Los Angeles Sparks, in their initial period actively playing at Staples Heart, became the 1st workforce in any expert sport to acknowledge Delight Month. Sparks players boarded a crew bus and participated in a rally and bash at a Los Angeles lesbian bar known as “Girl Bar.”
May 2002 – New York Liberty veteran centre Sue Wicks interviewed with “Time Out New York” and became the league’s very first energetic participant to occur out publicly. Wicks stated she under no circumstances viewed it as a momentous announcement.
“I was already 35 decades old and experienced lived all over the entire world and had some suggestions about who I was as a man or woman and what built me happy,” Wicks instructed Outsports in 2019 about that job interview. “Just staying myself, becoming genuine to myself, built me happy.”
Oct 2005 – Sheryl Swoopes, a three-time WNBA MVP and the initial women’s player to have a shoe named for her, gets to be the initially substantial-profile African-American basketball participant to appear out as gay in a story reported by the New York Situations.
“I was at a level in my everyday living where by I am just drained of acquiring to faux to be somebody I am not,” Swoopes mentioned in a phone interview with the New York Occasions at the time. “I was fundamentally living a lie. For the past seven, 8 many years, I was waiting to exhale.”
Oct 2012 – Minnesota Lynx star guard Seimone Augustus speaks out publicly for the duration of the WNBA Finals against a proposed anti-LGBTQ relationship modification in Minnesota. Minnesotans defeated the measure in the November 2012 election, the ban on gay marriage slipping short by just a few share factors.
“I felt like it was the excellent time for me, being on a system where by I can make a modify with my voice and my problem,” Augustus informed The Connected Push. “Maybe encourage anyone else to come out and be comfortable with themselves. Or perhaps somebody else’s dad and mom will see my mom and dad expressing that it’s Alright to be with your baby and adore your child unconditionally regardless of your sexual preference.”
June 2014 – The WNBA results in being the first skilled sporting activities league to set up a focused Satisfaction marketing campaign. “WNBA Pride” bundled participation by all 12 teams, however some other groups had been recognizing Delight thirty day period independently for numerous a long time. Teams and players participated in Pride activities, and there was a nationally televised Delight-themed game.
Then-WNBA President Laurel Richie instructed ESPN, “We are constructing on a little something that formerly existed.”
June 2016 – WNBA groups manage to express solidarity and raise dollars for the victims of the Pulse Nightclub capturing. Players wore warmup shorts and produced donations to area money. Breanna Stewart auctioned off her recreation-worn footwear, with proceeds benefiting the victims, and Shavonte Zellous, an Orlando native, shared her connection to the tragedy with the taking pictures. Her sister was in the nightclub when the shooting took place but was uninjured.
June 2016 – The NBA and the WNBA joined collectively to participate with a float in the New York Metropolis Pleasure March and parade, turning into the 1st skilled sporting activities leagues to do so. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and then WNBA President Lisa Borders rode on the float.
June 2017 – The New York Liberty turned the first New York sports activities staff to have a float in the Pleasure parade, acquiring marched alongside the NBA/WNBA float the previous 12 months.
December 2018 – Chicago Sky backcourt mates Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley develop into the league’s first married teammates. They would go on to acquire a WNBA title collectively in 2021.
“I’m lucky more than enough to engage in and vacation with my wife. … We contend. We get at it. We make every other superior,” Vandersloot said. “I credit a great deal of my particular person results to her.”
September 2019 – The whole very first-team All-WNBA team were ladies who detect as LGBTQ+ – Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne, Courtney Vandersloot, Chelsea Grey, and Natasha Howard.
February 2021 – Guard Layshia Clarendon, who most not long ago performed for the Minnesota Lynx, is the league’s to start with brazenly trans and non-binary player, acquiring now shared for the duration of the 2020 year their use of all pronouns (he/she/they). In the course of the 2021 offseason, they shared that they experienced undergone major operation.
“[My activism has] absent from extra of an unique perspective to how I can empower the people close to me,” Clarendon said. “That has been the enjoyment element. I realized I’ve usually freed folks with my real truth.”
Longtime WNBA reporter Michelle Smith writes a column on WNBA.com through the time. The sights on this page do not always reflect the sights of the WNBA or its golf equipment.