The fact that one of the women on new dyke drama The L Word is a closeted lesbian tennis player won’t surprise anyone. Closet cases in professional women’s sport have probably been around for as long as professional women’s sport itself.
Said dyke drama tennis player Dana Fairbanks (played by the goofy Erin Daniels) fronts as happily straight and in relations with her very-gay mixed doubles partner. When asked why she prefers life in the closet, Dana is blunt.
Sponsors aren’t exactly clamouring to have their stuff repped by big ol’ lezzie tennis players, she says.
It’s kind of true. Those who have come out -“ like Martina Navratilova more than 20 years ago and Amelie Mauresmo in 1999 -“ are still considered lesbian tennis players, with the sex first and the sport second.
Mauresmo said at the time she wouldn’t want to be represented by a company that had a problem with her sexuality, and she was confident there were others who wouldn’t. She knew that sex would sell, but she was no Anna Kournikova.
Anyway, a strange thing has happened in the ultra-dykey world of women’s golf this week. While everyone has known forever the LPGA tour must be a hotbed of steamy girl-on-girl, a player has come out, finally, because of a sponsorship deal.
Veteran player Rosie Jones is the new face of Olivia Cruise Lines, which operates mega-all-women cruises around the US and nearby countries.
She’s contracted to wear the colours of Olivia on her (not that flattering, let’s face it) golf sweater and hat. And all of a sudden women’s golf is out in the open.
Of course, women golfers, including our own Karrie Webb, have come out -“ or been kicked out -“ before. But it’s never been the happy, here-I-am, fuck-you-if-you-don’t-like-it coming out of Rosie Jones.
That might all change now the LPGA is opening its eyes to the lesbians in its rankings.
As LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw described the all-in policy to The New York Times: Our approach is that if you can play great golf, we don’t care what your sexual orientation is. We don’t care what your background is. We don’t care what country you come from. We don’t care what other characteristics you have.
So that’s it. They’re here. Some of them are queer. But didn’t everyone know that all along?