Stephanie White, the head coach of the WNBA's Indiana Fever, was hired as head coach of Vanderbilt University's women's basketball team. White is married to a woman, Michelle Fletcher, and has three children.
Homophobia has long been a problem in women's basketball, so White's hiring is significant because she is open about her sexual orientation and she was hired to bring Vanderbilt basketball to the next level. White will continue to coach the Fever through the season and take over the Vanderbilt program in the fall.
White has been an outspoken advocate for same-sex marriage and does not hide who she is, unlike, sadly, many of the closeted lesbian coaches who feel they can't be open. The Indiana native said this to the Indianapolis Business Journal:
It's pretty well-known you have a same-sex partner. Do you consider yourself an outspoken advocate for gay rights?
I consider myself an advocate because I have a platform to influence people.
One of the reasons I decided to start being an advocate [is] because there are a lot of people in this state who know me — who know who I am. Not who know Stephanie White the coach. Not Stephanie White the player. But who know Stephanie White the person.
And I am the same Stephanie White the person who was married to a man as the Stephanie White the person that is married to a woman. If you can get people who may not know or don't know they know someone in a same-sex relationship to have an appreciation for a person versus the type of relationship they're in, I think it hits home.
And more than anything, because I have kids, and I want my kids to see the world through a little bigger lens. I want my kids to see our family the same as any other family.
Do you think parenting is any different in a same-sex marriage than in a heterosexual marriage?
Whether you're raised by a grandparent, a single parent, a heterosexual couple or a homosexual couple, I think all parenting is the same.
You want your children to be better than you are. You want to protect them and love them. You want them to understand what it means to be kind, to be considerate. You want them to be good people and good citizens. You want them to have responsibility and accountability. You want them to have all the same values our parents wanted for us.
White, who turns 39 in June, joins Jennifer Azzi of the University of San Francisco as the only two openly gay head coaches in women's college basketball.