When Outsports began publishing in 1999, we talked with a basketball executive who shared with us behind-closed-doors conversations in the WNBA about how to keep the “lesbian” image of some of its players quiet.
Fast-forward to 2022, that nonsense is far behind the league.
As the WNBA tips-off its new season, Outsports counts 20% of the players on current rosters (29 as of today, including “hardship exception” Crystal Dangerfield) to be “publicly out.” That’s defined by the athlete either stating to the media they are LGBTQ, or clearly living their life openly on social media as an LGBTQ person.
Of course there are other LGBTQ athletes in the WNBA we could not confirm from media statements or social media; That’s true of every pro league. Not everyone wants to live their private personal lives publicly.
Interestingly, when we looked at the teams in the 2021 playoffs, 25% of the WNBA players on those teams were clearly publicly out. So it’s interesting that a higher percentage of out players made the playoffs last year than play in the league now.
In addition to the players, Atlanta Dream owner Renee Montgomery is publicly out and married to music artist Sirena Grace. In addition, both Connecticut Sun coach Curt Miller and Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve are out (Reeve is married to Lynx exec Carley Knox).
The team with the most out LGBTQ players — the Sun — have an out coach. Funny how that works. In fact, there are more publicly out athletes on this current Suns roster than have been publicly out in all of the men’s Big Five leagues — NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL & MLS — in history.
Here are the WNBA players currently on team rosters we know to be publicly out:
None we have confirmed
None we have confirmed
Las Vegas Aces
Los Angeles Sparks
New York Liberty
Griner, who is currently detained in Russia, is on the Mercury roster, and the team has been granted “roster and salary cap relief so that it can carry a replacement player until Griner, who will be paid her full salary, returns home and is ready to get back on the court,” according to information shared with Outsports by Swish Appeal editor Zack Ward.
There are some other players who are currently free agents and have been with WNBA teams in the last couple of years, some most recently the last couple of weeks:
If we missed the names of any current WNBA players who are clearly publicly out, do leave a comment below, email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) or DM us on Instagram or Twitter (@Outsports) and we’ll add them.
For more WNBA and women’s basketball news, head over to Swish Appeal.