Why are lesbian tennis players out of the closet but the Gay and Bisexual male tennis players are still hiding?
Whenever a heterosexual male tennis player is playing tennis, the cameras will always gaze into the stands, at the model girlfriend or wife. partner. For instance, when Tim Henman matches were broadcast on television, the cameras always focused on wife Lucy. On the BBC, the commentators will always mention that Henman is happily married, with a wife, and children.
At the US OPEN, CBS sports talked constantly about Tommy Haas girlfriend. When Andre Agassi played the media always discussed his heterosexual marriage to former pro Steffi Graf. It also happens all the time with Roger Federer the cameras will gaze over at Mirka. When Rafael Nadal is playing the cameras will focus on his girlfriend.
Of course, heterosexual male tennis players exist on the ATP tour. However, there are also gay and bisexual male tennis players because due to science there are always gay and bisexual men in a population. It is a fact of life that some men are gay or bisexual so why are the male tennis players reticent about their bisexuality and homosexuality?
My theory is,I think some ATP Tour players have “public” girlfriends, and “private” boyfriends. The sports culture is very heterosexist and macho. There are also some male sports fans they would cringe and be disgusted if their favorite male athletes were gay or bisexual. People also forget about bisexuality some people believe men cannot be bisexual and this is false.There are plenty of men out there that are sexually attracted to both sexes. I think some of these male tennis players are also bisexuals.
In the sports community, a man’s masculinity is tied in with his sexuality. The question is why? The heterosexist message is gay and bisexual men cannot be strong men. The myth of the mainstream society is that a gay man cannot be masculine and be a great athlete. The illogical theory is if a gay male athlete does come out then the myth of his masculinity is shattered and he is less of a man.
Next, some straight people will say being gay “doesn’t matter” in sports. Well if being gay isn’t a big deal, why is there still the “shame”? Why is being straight such a big deal in sports? Why hasn’t a gay male tennis player in the Open era come out of the closet? Open era tennis started in 1968 its been thirty nine years and no male tennis player has ever stated that he is gay.
Yet on the WTA tennis fans know of the many lesbian tennis stars. Of course in society lesbianism isn’t considered a threat to mainstream male sports fans. Lesbianism is also not a threat to heterosexual men. Yet the idea that straight male sports fans favorite male athletes can be gay seems to be a threat to their psyches and masculinity. The fear of the unknown outrages some straight men. I believe men are keeping other men in the closet. Of course, another point to consider is the closeted gay male athletes want to maintain the “respect” of their heterosexual male colleagues so they also remain in the closet.
Why is being straight considered part of the “public” sphere but being “gay” viewed as a private matter? The notion of heterosexuality is socially constructed and enforced that we don’t even question why is it important to point out tennis players heterosexuality. Perhaps that’s the problem? Maybe the day will come where being gay in sports isn’t a big deal but it still is.
Perhaps women are also more mature when it comes to dealing with issues of sexuality in sports? Most women don’t care if a female tennis player is a lesbian. On the WTA the players don’t care that Amelie Mauresmo is a lesbian tennis champion. Amelie is respected as a champion. Although Amelie Mauresmo is having a “bad” year by her standards she’s still top 10 in the world. Amelie is a national hero in France, she is loved by the French people and considered a heroine. The French don’t care that Amelie is a lesbian they love her unconditionally. In France, the dream of the nation is that one day Amelie will win the French Open. I know Amelie has the game and talent to win the French Open maybe next year perhaps?
So the public is just supposed to believe the WTA has a disproportionate lesbian population and there are “no” gay male tennis stars? I find this very hard to believe due to science. In a population, there will always be a certain percentage that is gay. There are so many lesbian singles and doubles tennis champions. There has to be male tennis champions that are homosexual yet they choose to be cowards and hide in the closet.
There was a rumour earlier this year that the French tennis player Richard Gasquet is gay. The rumour burnt into a bright flame when French journalists at the Monte Carlo Masters in April asked Richard if he was gay. The French magazine, Le Point, conducted an interview with a French business man Arnaud Lagardere claiming he was involved with Gasquet. Lagardere deined the gay rumour. Richard has also denied the rumours. In France, the story is that an older French businessman Arnaud Largardere is Richard’s secret lover. Richard and Lagardere have both denied that they are together.
However, tennis fans across the globe erupted when the story first emerged. Now I am not denying Richard’s heterosexuality. I am simply questioning why some tennis fans have no problem with lesbianism on the WTA but do have a problem with even the thought that some of the ATP tour male tennis players could be gay? Do these tennis fans think being gay is only reserved for the women’s tour?
The Australian tennis pro Renee Stubbs, came out last year during the 2006 Australian Open, to the Melbourne newspaper The Age. Stubbs used to date American doubles specialist Lisa Raymond. Of course, everyone knows that two great tennis champions Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King are lesbians. In Spain, the Spanish media have talked about former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez lesbianism for years. Conchita used to date the American doubles pro Gigi Fernandez. The USA tennis commenators even discussed Martinez and Fernandez lesbian romance over a decade ago. There are rumours that the Australian tennis player Samantha Stosur and the Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova are also lesbians.
Since there are lesbians on the WTA, why are the ATP tour players still in the closet? The great Bill Tilden also know as “Big Bill” is the only male tennis champion that we know is gay. Tilden won Wimbledon three times and he was a seven time US OPEN champion during the 1920s and 1930s. Tilden brought glamour, sophistication, and a touch of drama to men’s tennis. Why is there this void in men’s tennis? Tilden cannot possibly be the only man to ever play pro tennis and be gay?
Tennis is an individual sport. There is absolutely no reason why a player would need to remain closeted. In pro tennis you are on your own you don’t have to answer to any “team members”. I think it would be easier for male tennis players to come out in tennis or golf then say pro hockey, basketball, football, or baseball.
Amelie Mauresmo did not lose any endorsements when she came out and that’s progress. Back in the 1980s, when Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King were forced out of the closet. King’s hairdresser outed her, and Navratilova was outed by a journalist. King and Navratilova lost their endorsement deals.
Times have changed in professional tennis Amelie Mauresmo is very respected in the tennis world and she makes good money on the court and off the court. It is perfectly possible to be openly gay and have a successful tennis career because Amelie Mauresmo is proof of this.
I am not advocating that gay male tennis players should hold press conferences coming out or doing big articles or photo shoots. Amelie Mauresmo simply didn’t deny she was gay and that was it. I think that’s the kind of approach the gay male tennis players can follow. Being gay in sports wouldn’t be as big a deal if more male pro athletes come out. The more players come out the more common it would be for fans to accept these gay male tennis players.
I think it goes to show that the lesbians are the ones with the courage. The lesbians are the ones that pushed the battle for gay rights forward in the sports arena not gay men. It is the lesbians in the 1980s and 1990s that encounter some homophobia but won the battle. The fear of lesbianism on the WTA tour has faded away. Being a lesbian on the WTA tour is not a shock to anyone. So why would it still be a shock for tennis fans if some top male tennis players were indeed gay or bisexual?
On numerous tennis message boards just bringing up the topic about male athletes being gay strikes a chord in people it’s a passionate subject. I think it’s entirely possible there has to be gay male tennis players or golfers. I mean think about it these guys travel together across the globe, they spend a lot of down time off the court together, practice together, maybe even share hotel rooms, and have meals together.
Why is it so hard for some people to believe some of these male tennis players are dating each other? Would tennis fans really care if a top male tennis player was gay? Wouldn’t that make tennis more interesting and exciting? People say they don’t care if male athletes are gay but they obviously do and that’s one of the reasons the gay male tennis players are still in the closet. I think its time for somebody on the ATP Tour to take a stand but I doubt it will happen. It just goes to show whenever gay rights needs advancement its the lesbian community that has the courage and determination to not live in fear.
List Of WTA Lesbian Tennis Stars
1. Martina Navratilova (out of the closet confirmed lesbian)
2. Billie Jean King (out of the closet confirmed lesbian)
3. Renee Stubbs ( out of the closet confirmed lesbian)
4. Amelie Mauresmo (Confirmed lesbian out of the closet)
5. Conchita Martinez ( Not out of the closet but Conchita is a lesbian)
6. Nicole Pratt (Ditto not out of the closet but Nicole is a lesbian)
7. Samantha Stosur (Ditto not out but Sam is a lesbian)
8. Gigi Fernandez (Former girlfriend of Conchita Martinez they used to date in the mid 1990s)
9. Mary Carillo (Once married to a man but numerous rumours is Carillo is bisexual or lesbian)
10. Virginia Wade ( Not out of the closet but Virginia Wade is rumoured to be a lesbian)
11. Maria Bueno ( Rumour has it Bueno used to date American tennis champion Darlene Hard)
12. Darlene Hard ( Rumoured to be in a lesbian relationship with Maria Bueno)
13. Lisa Raymond ( Lisa is out of the closet she is the former girlfriend and lesbian lover of Renee Stubbs)
14. Hana Mandlikova ( Hana is not out of the closet but she is a lesbian)
15. Jana Novotna ( Jana not out of the closet she is also gay)
16. Gabriela Sabatini ( Gabriela is not out of the closet she is also a lesbian)