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Special Features Index  

 
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.  
 
 
 

 
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