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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

 

Sheryl Swoopes: A little something for everybody

When Sheryl Swoopes talks about "this is who I am," it seems pretty clear that she means now.

Comments:
Good article; nice to see that the religious right haven't claimed that she's a lesbian because she likes sports and lacks a fatherly figure - I guess Dobson is wetting his bed in delight over that article; the same fellow who thinks that boys playing with dolls will make them gay, and girls who play sports will turn out to be lesbians.

On the gay front, the myth of 'I got divorced because I'm gay' is actually a load of hogwash; like a friend of mine said, after 20 years of marriage; if it were just the gay factor, then the marriage would still have continued, be it lacking sex, and the wife was happy with having a close friendship; the fact is, there is always more to the relationship break up than an individual discovering that their sexual orientation doesn't fit into the relationship they're in.

Hopefully with the mythbusters like her out in full force, we'll finally get to see some gay people in the lime light who don't fit into the stereotypical mould; big butchy guys who play rugby, feminine females who do ballet - god knows, it would make me happy to see the cliché king himself, Dobson, being put out of business, or atleast his books put into the satire section of the library - where they truely belong.
 
But the talk about the WNBA being full of lesbians is not true. I mean, there are as many straight women in the league as there are gay.

I appreciated this statement.

As far as Dr. T's intro, I think that yes, of course she means who she is now. I'm not sure how else one can use the phrase "This is who I am" and mean who they were 8 years ago, or what they will be.

I also appreciated the fact that she isn't trying to explain the shift--whether she had "latent" lesbian attractions, or was "really" gay. If her story is anecdotal evidence that people can change from straight to gay (and the implication of the reverse change ensues), it doesn't necessarily mean that she can, should, or wants to "change back." Or that she chose that shift herself.

I know a few people who seem to have "changed" in more ways than just behavior. Whether that's "really" bisexuality, or they were never "really" gay, I am not going to say. The problem is that the people I do know don't seem to have changed through techniques, willpower, or prayer--but they have met someone that they love and want to relate to in an intimate way.

Anyway, props to Sheryl.
 
I think the article in ESPN (referenced in the post), portrays her situation very consistently with this article by Daryl Bem. An essentialist view would be to say she is probably heterosexual but is in love with and has attached to her current partner. This is the opposite of a woman in one of my research studies who in a committed lesbian relationship for 20 years and then fell in love with a man at her work place and is now married to him. Is she really a lesbian but in love with a man? She certainly doesn't think of herself this way. She has experienced a 180 turn in her fantasies, attractions, etc as a consequence of this unexpected heterosexual relationship.
 
That makes sense. I'm (probably obviously) not sure I agree with the essentialist viewpoint, but I find the article, in what it states--and it is brief--to be consistent and compelling.
 
Bisexuals have a habit of doing "this" Warren. Especially women.

What flips then from saying "we're friends" to "we're friends -- no REALLY" is both an eternal mystery and a great source of material for heterosexual pornography.

I'm not sure I agree with either.
 
You make the bisexual assumption grantdale but there is nothing that she describes that would lead one to think she is/was bisexual. Unless of course you define everyone as bisexual, or latently bisexual or something like that.
 
Since I said it was a mystery, I'm not sure what I have to show. How would you explain matters?

Did you miss the bit about marriage? 8 year old son? It all "crept" up on her and golly, I'm in a relationship with a women?

Pfft, women!!! (sorry ck...)

And, no. Most people are not bisexual, latent or otherwise. Some are.

One (you or I) could be forced to behave (at some level) either way -- but that is not what we are talking about. Or is it?
 
It's interesting--I interviewed a clinical psychologist today at a highly reputable university (unnamed since the article isn't published), and when asked about Swoopes he first (and rightly) said he couldn't comment on someone he hadn't seen personally.

Secondly, he said that sexuality is very fluid and that he would not want to put someone into two boxes of gay / straight. He kind of danced around the question of whether orientation changes over time, or could, saying only that identity is a process. He was, of course, very suspicious and condemnatory of reparative therapy and NARTH.

And Grantdale, I guess I wonder what makes a male-female relationship flip from "friends" to "friends--REALLY." Sure, if both people are heterosexual, then the potential is always there, but that's a situation where someone who was previously not an object of sexual attraction (but affect) becomes such.

I myself have wondered whether there is some mysterious Heterosexual Man out there (yes, capitalization indicates some sarcasm) that I could become so affectionately enamored with that I would "flip" to be sexually attracted to him. I don't think it's entirely impossible, but I also don't think I have a moral compulsion to wait for Him, or to try to "flip" myself. I am perfectly content identifying as a lesbian, despite past relationships with men--since that best describes the overall arch of my self-awareness.
 
Let me know when your articles come out, ck. I look forward to reading them.
 
http://del.icio.us/quetzalphoenix/VitalVoice

These are the ones that have come out (no pun intended) so far. There's one with First Light and Luke B--small world! I have the 4th installment in the ex-gay series coming up in 2 weeks, along with more, I hope, on Beth Stroud's case.
 
No probs ck -- I appreciate sarcasm too :) -- I understand what you're saying, and what you are also NOT saying.

Could there be that ONE guy out there? Who knows. Drop everything and go bend yourself in knots trying to find him... naah.

And of course liking a guy (as himself) and giving yourself a brief test-run or experimentation is very, very different to deciding to spend the rest of your life with him and shutting yourself down in order to see that commitment through.

Personally, if such a "one woman in the World" existed for me... I think she'd arrive on the back of a flying pig. And work as a snowflake manufacturer in hell (which of course, has just froze over).

I'll have a good read of your writings too -- tks for the link.
 
Hi CK,

I know a few people who seem to have "changed" in more ways than just behavior. Whether that's "really" bisexuality, or they were never "really" gay, I am not going to say. The problem is that the people I do know don't seem to have changed through techniques, willpower, or prayer--but they have met someone that they love and want to relate to in an intimate way.

I've observed the same thing, people who seemed to change not only their behavior, but their mental processes as well. As for whether or not they were really gay to begin with, or bisexual all along, I guess we can never know. What's interesting is that one's political view can color one's unique perception of this phenomenon: anti-gays will say that the gays DEFINITELY changed, where as pro-gays will say that they DEFINITELY were not gay to begin with. It almost seems like a form of faith which interpretation you choose to believe. I'm pleased to see that though you are pro-gay, you have the intellectual acuity to recognize this difficulty of interpretation.


In my personal experience, those who seemingly changed their inner orientation tend to be those who are pro-gay, who are at ease with themselves, who, for whatever reason, seemingly update their sexual orientation "software." Of course, this Sheryl Swoopes situation seems to indicate that the opposite can occur as well.



He kind of danced around the question of whether orientation changes over time, or could, saying only that identity is a process. He was, of course, very suspicious and condemnatory of reparative therapy and NARTH.

Did he ultimately believe that change was possible? Or did he refrain from any sort of answer out of fear of political correctedness? It would be interesting to see what these reputed professionals really think behind closed doors.

Yours truly,

Memphis Belle
 
Hi Warren,

This is the opposite of a woman in one of my research studies who in a committed lesbian relationship for 20 years and then fell in love with a man at her work place and is now married to him. Is she really a lesbian but in love with a man? She certainly doesn't think of herself this way. She has experienced a 180 turn in her fantasies, attractions, etc as a consequence of this unexpected heterosexual relationship.

Again, as I was commenting up above, it becomes a matter of faith which interpretation we choose. And it is quite predictable, at least to me, which interpretion a person will choose (is he anti-gay or pro-gay?). And, people tend to be passionate about their interpratation, and will label others stupid if they believe differently.

Thing is, if this individual honestly feels that she changed, we have two options:

a) she really did experience true inner change in her "underlying" orientation (if there is such a thing), or

b) her "underlying" orientation is bisexual, and she was merely discovering her gay side, which previously might have been repressed.

To obsess over the truth, from a philosophical standpoint, seems meaningless to me, and difficult to keep from spiraling into semantic hell.

But from a political standpoint, we all know what is at stake.
 
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