Lesbians Love Liberty – The Advocate, 9/30/2002

It is still almost incomprehensible to me that there is such a thing as the WNBA. I came up during the three-dribble rule in girl’s basketball. Even though many of us had grown up playing basketball with our brothers and could dribble like Teresa Weatherspoon at full gallop-at least as I remember it-in regulation play we were forced to bounce three times and pass off. Games had the viscosity of the Valium Invitational.

Young women never believe me, but we were not allowed to run over the mid-court line. It was never clear if officials thought we didn’t have full court stamina or thought if we did go full out, there would be that unseemly sweating. After every game, the janitors would have to scrub away the Converse skid marks up to the mid line. In some parts of the country rules were eventually changed to allow one player on each team to go over the center line. She was called the rover. Usually, she was also called the lesbian.

Then, Holy Pick and Roll, after almost three decades of Title IX, a women’s professional basketball league was formed. Now the WNBA’s pro games are the summer season’s lesbian see-and-be-seen events.

The first game I went to, I saw women I had not seen in years. Women MIA due to lesbian motherhood, now re-emergent with strollers festooned with NY Liberty paraphernalia. Tots in tiny numbered mesh tees. Professional lesbians. Openly closeted lesbian celebrities in the VIP seats. Because the games were excellent basketball, affordable, fun, and let’s face it, air-conditioned, the stands filled.

Seeing a game on TV is entirely different from being at a game. Duh. I know. But if you have sat at Madison Square Garden watching the NY Liberty play-Park Slope is in the house! – and then caught a game on TV, you marvel more at the camera shot selection than Sue Wick’s shot selection.

TV producers calling the game somehow manage never to show any lesbians in the crowd. If, after a spectacular rebound, fast break, lightning assist, and a three pointer with nothing but net, they accidentally show a raucous caucus of big square-bottomed dykes jigging and high-fiving in the upper tiers, it’s a quick cut to the one seated bored father in the stands with his small son asleep on his lap. Or endless shots of the coach’s hair plugs.

Although other WNBA teams have acknowledged their lesbian fan base with special events, the Liberty management balked. After yet another missed June Gay Pride Month opportunity, some Garden variety lesbians got fed up and held up “Lesbians for Liberty” signs. Security ordered them to put them down. The BRIGHT yellow John 3:13 signs are still okay. The Lesbians for Liberty retaliated with an action last associated with Queer Nation in your local shopping center: a kiss-in.

These high-security low safety days it’s still possible to get through checkpoints with unconfiscated lips, so I recommend other kiss-in opportunities. Say, behind the president when he’s signing another “Paid Straight” welfare bill awarding tax breaks to heterosexual marriage and the childbearing therein. Interns at the background warren of desks in the CNN headquarters could lock lips while chad boy Bill Hemmer is smarming away. The Today Show morning placard crowd could use some lip-smacking behind Katie Couric. There could be soul-kissing at the phone banks on interminable PBS fund drives-for viewers like you.

So follow your Blistex, all you lesbians in sport, publishing, finance, etc. and get smacking!