(This story was published in 2002).
A group of lesbians, fed up with the New York Liberty's refusal to have a gay pride night, is planning a kiss-in during the Liberty's Friday night game against Miami at Madison Square Garden. The game will be on ESPN at 7 p.m. (EDT).
"Are you tired of the WNBA and the New York Liberty denying that lesbians are packing Madison Square Garden week after week for women's basketball games? Join us for a lesbian Liberty kiss-in!,'' reads part of ane-mail sent by Lesbians for Liberty, which is organizing the protest.
While other teams such as Seattle, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Minnesota and Miami have acknowledged their large lesbian fan base with special nights or other public events, the Liberty have been holdouts. This is despite the team's general manager Carol Blazejowski and player Sue Wicks being openly gay.
The Liberty has defended its stand, saying it welcomes all fans. "We market to everybody," Mary Pat Clarke, vice president of communications at Madison Square Garden, told the Washington Blade in 2001. "Do we have lesbians and homosexuals in our audience? Yes.
"We have a fantastic mix and diversity in our fan base. We accept everybody — we love the diversity. We don’t run away from anybody or market toward any specific group. We market toward New York, and we don’t want to change that."
The e-mail wants Liberty management to do the following:
--Acknowledge lesbian fans on "Fan Appreciation Day", Aug. 11
--Celebrate Lesbian and Gay Pride at a June home game
--Have Liberty players attend a community event for lesbian fans
--Invite out lesbian performers to sing the national anthem
--Invite out lesbians and their families to play in time-out games
``Aug. 2nd is "Banner Night" which means we are allowed to hold up large signs. Please try to bring large signs with you showing your support for Lesbian Liberty fans,'' the e-mail said.