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Women's Hoops

The latest news and analysis on college and pro women's basketball.

July 12, 2006 at 11:52 AM

Out and about

This is the first time Houston forward Sheryl Swoopes wasn’t the leading vote-getter for the All-Star game, aside from 2001 when she was injured. It’s rumored that her announcing that she’s a lesbian last fall has something to do with it. Folks in Houston even said that’s why some of their compatriots dumped their season tickets.
Swoopes, 35, has been with her partner for seven years, but is finding out the difficulties of being who you are in a world that for the most part isn’t having any of that. She does still find support in the basketball circle, including NBA players.
“I haven’t changed who I am, but a lot of people around me have changed,” she said. “That’s what I don’t want, for people to say, ‘How do I approach her? What do I say to her? What do I do?’ I don’t want that to be an issue. I want people to continue to be the same around me as they were before everybody knew. I am who I am.”
Swoopes, the league’s defending MVP, doesn’t allow the altered perception to stop her from having a good time. When the Storm played in Houston in June, it was Pride weekend and the city held its annual late-night parade in the gay district. The mascots for the Comets and NBA Rockets were part of the floats, along with the Comets’ dance team. The dancers did moves and gymnastics stunts down the street while techno music blared from a float decked out in the organization’s advertising. They also beaconed for support for the Comets from a blowhorn. Swoopes couldn’t participate in the parade that ran until midnight because her team played the following Sunday afternoon, but she did drop by the lesbian bar Chances with other players after the Houston win Sunday, causing a mini stir well after they left.
And Swoopes said when the team travels to play the expansion Chicago on July 14, the same timeframe as the Gay Games (July 15-22), she’s going to try to fit in a couple of appearances. At the All-Star game, she’s hanging with fellow players and Alisa Scott, her partner, is always in sight.
“It makes me feel good that I don’t have to worry about it being news whereas if I wouldn’t have come out and I go out somewhere and people see me then, yeah, that’s all over the newspapers or TV and then I’d have to worry about it,” she said. “It makes feel good that if it’s something I choose to do and I want to do it [go out to gay clubs], I can get comfortable and it’s no surprise. I’m not hiding anything.”

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