The Women's Final Four is headed to Tampa Bay this weekend, and following suit will be scores of lesbian basketball fans. At least, so says the St. Petersburg Times, which said in an article that local businesses are banking on it.
Starting Friday, Tampa will become a national epicenter for gay women, thousands of whom are coming to town for the Final Four of the women's NCAA Tournament.
Most of the activities will center on Ybor City, where clubs are hosting all-girl bands and an event called Bounce, promoted as the largest women's party in the Tampa Bay area. The National Center for Lesbian Rights is holding a mega party at club Underground. Restaurants are offering free specials to attract gay patrons.
The Times quoted one person estimating that a full 75% of the fans in the stands during the Final Four would be gay. There were lots of theories as to why so many of the Women's Final Four fans are gay (I was quoted saying it's in part because local businesses are making it a destination for lesbians, reflected in the thesis of the article). But there was one theory I don't agree with at all:
But another reason for the popularity of women's basketball, gay leaders say, is the outspoken advocacy by role models such as WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes, who came out in 2005.
Lesbians were (reportedly) flocking to the WNBA long before Sheryl Swoopes (or any other player) came out publicly. -Cyd Zeigler jr. (Go Stanford!)