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Spotlight Lesbians and Sports
 
  Lesbians and athletics have been identified with each other since long before the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion alerted mainstream straight America that there was a large queer minority in its midst. Despite that long history, many Lesbians in Sports continue to face homophobia and other obstacles today.  
 
 
  Bodybuilding Bodybuilding includes many lesbians and gay men both as athletes and consumers of the physical culture and entertainment products the sport sponsors. The important role of lesbians and gay men in the sport is more often denied than recognized.  
 
 
  Rita Mae Brown Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) is a lesbian poet and novelist best known for the highly successful novel Rubyfruit Jungle. Her novel Sudden Death, which looks at life within the women's tennis circuit, was inspired by her relationship with tennis star Martina Navratilova.  
 
 
  Marion Barbara "Joe" Carstairs (1900-1993) was a colorful gender-bending figure of the twentieth century who first gained fame as a speedboat racer in the 1920s.  
 
 
  Babe Didrikson Mildred "Babe" Didrikson (1911-1956) was one of the greatest women athletes in history. Despite all of her triumphs, she was taunted by charges of "mannishness" and "unnaturalness."  
 
 
  Frontrunners Frontrunners is an international confederation of gay, lesbian, transgendered, and gay-friendly runners, joggers, power walkers, strollers, rollerbladers, and sometimes bicyclists of all abilities. The group takes its name from novelist Patricia Nell Warren's The Front Runner.  
 
 
  Gay Games The Gay Games is a quadrennial sporting and cultural event designed for the glbtq community that has become a lucrative attraction for host cities.  
 
 
  Radclyffe Hall (1880-1943) lived her lesbianism openly and proudly. She is best known for The Well of Loneliness, arguably the most important lesbian novel ever written. Stephen, the protagonist in The Well, exhibited her lesbianism by engaging in traditionally masculine activities including sports.  
 
 
  Rosie Jones Rosie Jones (b. 1959) is a successful amateur and professional golfer who scored thirteen victories on the LPGA tour from 1987 to 2003. Since coming out in 2004, she has helped increase glbtq visibility in sports.  
 
 
  Frances Kellor Although Frances Kellor (1873-1952) is best known as a progressive activist who led the early twentieth-century Americanization movement, she also enthusiastically promoted women's athletics.  
 
 
  Billie Jean King Billie Jean King (b.1943) helped transform the world of professional tennis. She denied her lesbianism in the 1980s, but in 2000 became the first openly lesbian coach of an Olympic team.  
 
 
  Amelie Mauresmo Amélie Mauresmo (b. 1979) is the first professional tennis player since Martina Navratilova to come out publicly as a lesbian, and one of the few elite athletes to come out while still competing. She has almost twenty tournament titles to her credit.  
 
 
  Martina Navratilova Martina Navratilova (b. 1956) is one of the greatest tennis players in history and has become an outspoken supporter of lesbian and gay rights.  
 
 
  Diana Nyad Diana Nyad (b. 1949) is a long-distance swimmer and respected sports commentator who has spoken out on issues of glbtq rights.  
 
 
  Outgames The Outgames brought together more than half a million glbtq people and allies when they were first held in Montreal in 2006. Even though the Outgames were born of controversy and lost millions of dollars at the Montreal event, evidence suggests that their future is bright.  
 
 
  Patty Sheehan Patty Sheehan (b. 1956) is a Hall of Fame golfer who continues to excel on the LPGA Legends tour. Sheehan came out as a lesbian in 1998 at the height of her career.  
 
 
  Lesbian Sports Literature is a surprisingly small literary genre. Despite the high representation of lesbians in women's sports, sports and sportswomen have played a minor role in lesbian literature.  
 
 
  Sheryl Swoopes Sheryl Swoopes (b. 1971) is a basketball star and three-time Olympic champion who publicly came out as a lesbian and acknowledged her committed relationship with another woman in 2005.  
 
 
  Diane Whipple (1968-2001), the coach of the women's lacrosse team at Saint Mary's College in California, was killed in a dog-mauling in 2001. In response, her partner, Sharon Smith, helped establish the right of same-sex partners to equal treatment with heterosexuals.  
 
 
notable birthdays this week
December 14
 
Ruth Margarete Roellig
NONCONFORMIST WRITER WHO DESCRIBED LESBIAN LIFE IN WEIMAR GERMANY, 1878
Gerard Reve
A PIONEER IN EUROPEAN GAY WRITING, 1923
 
Hervé Guibert
FRENCH JOURNALIST AND NOVELIST WHO WROTE SEMI-FICTIONALIZED ACCOUNTS OF HIS STRUGGLE WITH AIDS, 1955
 
December 15
 
W. Dorr Legg W. Dorr Legg
GAY RIGHTS PIONEER WHO ESTABLISHED THE RIGHT TO SEND HOMOSEXUAL CONTENT THROUGH THE U.S. MAIL, 1904
Muriel Rukeyser
ENORMOUSLY IMPORTANT POET TO MANY FEMINIST AND LESBIAN READERS, 1913
 
Mutsuo Takahashi
POET WHOSE WORK SOMETIMES CELEBRATES HOMOSEXUAL DESIRE, 1937
 
December 16
 
George Santayana George Santayana
RENOWNED PHILOSOPHER WHO RESIGNED A HARVARD PROFESSORSHIP TO EARN A LIVING AS A WRITER, 1863
Noël Coward Noël Coward
BRITISH PLAYWRIGHT, ACTOR, SCREENWRITER, PRODUCER, SINGER, SONGWRITER, AND MASTER SHOWMAN, 1899
 
Margaret Mead Margaret Mead
PROMINENT AND POPULAR ANTHROPOLOGIST WHO KEPT HER OWN BISEXUALITY SECRET, 1901
 
December 17
 
Paul Cadmus Paul Cadmus
AMERICAN PAINTER KNOWN FOR HIS PAINTINGS OF BURLY MEN AND CURVACEOUS WOMEN, 1904
John Kennedy Toole
NOVELIST WHO SYMPATHIZED WITH THE MARGINALIZED, BUT WAS CONFLICTED ABOUT SEXUAL NON-CONFORMITY, 1936
 
Bertha Harris
A STYLISHLY INNOVATIVE AMERICAN FICTION WRITER, 1937
Gregg Araki
CREATOR OF FILMS THAT DIRECTLY RESPOND TO INSTITUTIONALIZED HOMOPHOBIA, 1959
 
December 18
 
Brian Orser Brian Orser
MEDAL-WINNING CANADIAN FIGURE SKATER, 1961
 
December 19
 
Gisèle Freund Gisèle Freund
PHOTOJOURNALIST AND CHRONICLER OF THE BOHEMIAN COMMUNITY IN 1930S PARIS, 1908
Jean Genet Jean Genet
WRITER WHOSE SEXUAL MARGINALITY ENCOURAGED HIS EMPATHY WITH OPPRESSED GROUPS, 1910
 
José Lezama Lima
MAJOR LATIN-AMERICAN LITERARY FIGURE WHOSE NOVEL PARADISO BROUGHT INSTANT FAME, 1910
Cyril Collard
ONE OF THE FIRST FRENCH ARTISTS TO PUBLICLY ANNOUNCE HIS HIV-POSITIVE STATUS, 1957
 
Michelangelo Signorile Michelangelo Signorile
PROLIFIC AND PROVOCATIVE WRITER AND ACTIVIST, 1960
 
December 20
 
Elsie de Wolfe Elsie de Wolfe
AMERICAN LESBIAN WHO HELPED CREATE THE INTERIOR DESIGN PROFESSION, 1865
Doug Wright
AWARD-WINNING PLAYWRIGHT, SCREENWRITER, AND LIBRETTIST, 1962
 
About Notable Birthdays
This feature lists people about whom glbtq.com has both entries and complete birth dates. Each person listed has made a significant contribution to or had a significant impact on glbtq culture or history. Most are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, though some are either heterosexual or cannot be adequately characterized using any of these labels.
 
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Latest Blog Posts

In a surprise order issued on December 19, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States rejected the request of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to extend the stay on Judge Robert Hinkle's decision striking down Florida's ban on same-sex marriage. As a result, same-sex couples in Florida will be able to marry after January 5, 2015. The Court's order likely indicates that a majority of the justices is prepared to issue a ruling in June that will bring marriage equality to the entire nation.

Congratulations to Robert L. Pitman of Austin, Texas, who was confirmed as U.S. District Judge by the United States Senate on December 16, 2014. When he is sworn into office, he will become the first openly gay federal judge in Texas history.

Martina Navratilova and Julia Lemigova.

Congratulations to tennis legend Martina Navratilova and former Russian beauty queen Julia Lemigova, who wed on December 15, 2014 in New York City. The news of the wedding was announced by the BBC after the fact, but it was no surprise: on September 6, Navratilova proposed to Lemigova, her longtime girlfriend, on national television at the U.S. Open.

Tori Johnson, manager of the Lindt Chocolate Café in Sydney, was killed on December 15, 2014 during the terror attack perpetrated by a religious extremist who took customers hostage. During the siege, Johnson exhibited heroism that cost him his life, but saved the lives of others. He is survived by Thomas Zinn, his partner of 14 years, as well as by his parents, Ken and Rowena Johnson, and his brother James.

David Furnish and Sir Elton John.

British newspapers are reporting that long-time partners Sir Elton John and David Furnish will marry in a "small and intimate" ceremony to be held at the couple's Windsor estate on December 21, 2014.

Michael Sam.

On December 12, 2014, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) confirmed that the previously announced multi-part series about openly gay NFL player Michael Sam, which was postponed in May due to concerns it might become a "distraction" for the player, has morphed into a 90-minute documentary that will be broadcast on December 27. The documentary will be followed by an interview with Winfrey.

As of December 10, 2014, couples in civil partnerships in England and Wales may convert their partnerships into marriages. Although the first same-sex marriages in England and Wales took place in March 29, 2014, two weeks after the Marriage (Same-sex Couples) Bill 2013 took effect, the parts of the law that permit the conversion of civil partnerships into marriages and that allow married persons to change their gender while remaining married did not come into effect until December 10.

Lily Tomlin as Ernestine. Photo by Jack Robinson.

On December 7, 2014, comic genius Lily Tomlin was recognized, along with actor Tom Hanks, singers Sting and Al Green, and ballerina Patricia McBride, at the annual Kennedy Center Honors Gala. The recipients of the prestigious honor are selected for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts.

Rory O'Neill as Panti Bliss.

Congratulations to equality activist Rory O'Neill, also known as drag queen and performance artist "Panti Bliss," who on December 6, 2014 was among a dozen individuals honored at Ireland's nationally televised People of the Year Awards. The Awards offer the Irish public an opportunity to recognize individuals who have contributed positively to Irish society and to local communities over the past year. Now in its 40th year, the People of the Year Awards are widely recognized as one of Ireland's highest accolades.

Dale Scott (l.) and husband Michael Rausch.

Major League Baseball umpire Dale Scott recently came out, first in a limited circulation trade publication, Referee in October 2014, and, later, in a December 2, 2014 interview in Outsports. Many publications have referred to Scott as the first openly gay major league umpire (and the only openly gay referee in the major professional male sports). Such a description is accurate only if it is qualified in a number of ways. For in the 1980s another major league umpire, Dave Pallone, was outed and then forced out of the game. The tale of these umpires is a tale of how the climate for gay people has changed in American society, including in sports.

 
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