But she believes — as do many other players I’ve talked with — that it isn’t just sexism that provokes the anger about women’s basketball. It’s the fact that the majority of the league is women of color, and many are openly queer. That exacerbates the hate.
“We’re women that are independent, college educated, most of us are women of color, most of us identify as [LGBTQ], so we have all of that, and we’re proud to be that!” McGee-Stafford said. It is, in essence, an amplification for where we are as a society….
You simply can’t talk about the hatred women’s basketball receives without talking about homophobia and racism, too. Black, queer women and nonbinary people are some of the most marginalized people in our society. And yet, women’s basketball — and the WNBA in particular — gives these women power, visibility, and a platform. These women both avail themselves of that platform, and have the tenacity to continue to demand more recognition. They’re not just satisfied with what they have.
No wonder the fragile men are angry.
I’ve wondered for years why the WNBA, much more so than other women’s professional leagues, is maligned and disrespected. I think this just may be the answer. Men are threatened when they don’t feel needed, and a powerful group of female athletes doesn’t seem to need them. So a backlash isn’t surprising.
And I have an observation of my own, piggybacking on this piece: white lesbians in the league seem to be more generally accepted than lesbians of color. Thank about it……was there any backlash when Elena Delle Donne came out, and then got married? I didn’t hear any. Ditto for Sue Bird coming out, and being in ESPN’s “the body” issue with her girlfriend recently. Didn’t hear negative statements last year, either, when Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor got married.
The women of the WNBA are a phenomenal bunch. Straight, gay or bisexual, they support each other on and off the court. By and large, they don’t seem to care about the sexuality of their teammates, which is a far cry for the stories of homophobia that have come out of the NBA. It is impressive. Men can take so many lessons from women.
The best part of this story is the ending:
“Our league is growing every year. So as much as people want to troll, at the end of the day we’re growing and we’re getting bigger and better,” Atlanta Dream center Elizabeth Williams told ThinkProgress.
“I mean, we’re not going away,” Currie said. “Our league is here to stay.”
Hell yeah it is.