By C. Coward
August 30, 2013 — “Sophia has the right to express her point of view, however, I do not share her view. The WNBA supports diversity and we are committed to the equal and fair treatment of all people.”
What happens when a WNBA player posts a tweet about a hot button topic while attending a protest on another controversial issue? San Antonio Silver Stars forward Sophia Young found out yesterday. The fan favorite since her college days helping lead Baylor to its first national championship in 2005 took on two topics in one tweet. She followed up her first tweet with photo evidence of her stances. Young is not playing this season due to a torn ACL she suffered while playing overseas in China. However, she attends home games, interacts with fans and is active in the San Antonio community with charity work and her AAU girl’s basketball team, Sophia Young Elite.
While one can argue that adding protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to San Antonio city’s nondiscrimination code is related to state matrimony laws and gay marriage, legally the distinct issues have absolutely nothing to do with each other. However, Young tweeted that she was against gay marriage while attending a protest at the city council opposing adding LGBT protections to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance.
The sign she held, which has the words “vote no” printed on it, is actually the topic of the council debate held last night on modifying the ordinance, not about gay marriage. As in every other state in the union, marriage is a state matter, not a municipal one.
The reactions from fans came fast and furious on a day the nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, an event organized by an African American gay man, Bayard Rustin, a close advisor to Martin Luther King Jr.
First, the facts about Texas:
The issue before the city council is in the headlines for many reasons. Just last week, San Antonio City Councilwoman Elisa Chan, went on an anti-gay tirade unaware that her words were being recorded. Her statements created a storm of controversy that effectively derailed her ambitions to run for mayor.
When it comes to the WNBA, Young has lesbian teammates. They are not completely out or vocal but it is not secret information. Tully Bevilaqua, a former Silver Stars player, posted on her Facebook fan page that she “just lost all respect for a former teammate” in reference to Young’s tweets. She also wrote that she stands up “for my family and equality and fair treatment for all human beings.” Bevilaqua married her partner earlier this year.
According to game attendees, the leaders of Young’s fan section at the AT&T center include a lesbian couple. Just this year, former Baylor star Brittney Griner came out and went on a highly publicized media junket revealing her wishes to help LGBT youngsters who are the victims of bullying.
There are few other openly gay WNBA players who are in same-sex relationships and married or planning to get married. Some of them may be facing issues of their own with civil liberties and human rights soon when they suit up to play in Russia in the upcoming EuroLeague season. In June Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a law that outlaws “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.” As a result, the host of the 2014 Winter Olympics is now facing scrutiny from multiple corners of the world. Plus, the anti-gay law is contrary to provisions against discrimination in the Olympic Charter.
The NBA added sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy as part of its collective bargaining agreement in late 2011. The WNBA Players Association is set to begin renegotiating its CBA at the end of the season.
But back to San Antonio. While Young took to Twitter to voice her views, San Antonio Silver Stars fan Anel Flores, who was interviewed earlier this year by Katie Couric about LGBT equal rights, took the floor during the city council debate yesterday evening and delivered this speech:
Thank you Mr. Mayor and thank you Councilperson Bernal and all council members who support the Non-Discrimination Ordinance
When I was in college dog sh-t was smeared on my car and the word “dyke” was written on my windows. My dorm was broken into and the words, “you are going to hell,” was written on my mirror.
My second year teaching, I was told I couldn’t take my students to competition because I was a lesbian and I needed a male teacher escort.
In my fifth year teaching, I was working late after school and I heard the football coach yell to his team, “come on faggots! Run!” The following year, the coaches thought it was okay to talk about the female teachers with me like they were sexual objects, and I was just one of the boys. I am not.
In my eighth year teaching a transgender girl, who was my student, was forced behind closed doors to shave her head by a male administrator, “if she really thought she was a man!” I never saw her again after being expelled.
My tenth year teaching one of my gay students, who I reported many times for being bullied at the bus stop and in front of the school library committed suicide.
Three years ago my daughter was not allowed to do a speech in school about her lesbian mother’s fight for the legalization of gay marriage.
Today when I walked up holding my fiancé’s hand I was told I was going to hell, again.
And, as I sit here today many of our council members have discriminated against me, my family and my community with hateful, ignorant, arrogant words.
My name is Anel Flores. I am a business owner, a published author, a tax payer, a consumer, an artist, an activist, a neighborhood association member, a chamber member and I am also a lesbian mother together with mi prometida, Erika Casasola.
Our 14-year-old daughter attends a San Antonio public school, dances professionally, sold the most Girl Scout cookies last year in all of her school, and plans to be a large animal veterinarian when she grows up.
Our oldest daughter, graduated earlier this year at the top of her class with more that 1000 service hours, interned with Women’s Global Connection at UIW, just started at Southwestern University, joined the Latina sorority and is pre-med.
I am here to correct all of you who said that my family is immoral and “disgusting.” Ms. Chan, I am also here to remind you that all religion is rooted in love.
And I am here to remind you that voting yes can save lives of silenced, bullied lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender children and children of LGBT families.
Vote yes on the Non-Discrimination Ordinance and protect your neighbor.