Female athletes: A reason to celebrate

Happy National Girls and Women in Sports Day!

Wait, you didn’t know? That’s OK, because we’re about to tell you. Today, February 3, 2010, is the 24th annual NGWSD in the U.S., a day for us to celebrate girls and women in sports. And we do have reason to celebrate. When Title IX went into effect in 1971, one in 27 high school girls participated in athletics. Now, it’s one in three. In the 1984 Olympics, women were a part of 13 of 24 events. In Beijing in 2008, females were in 28 out of the 32 events.

Today, while representatives of women’s sports organizations and professional athletes meet with members of Congress to discuss the importance of expanding opportunities for girls and women to play sports, let’s take the opportunity to honor a few of our own U.S. sports heroes. Each one of these women is an athlete who excelled at her sport — and is an out lesbian/bisexual.

Martina Navratilova, Tennis

Sheryl Swoopes, Basketball

Rosie Jones, Golf

Lauren Lappin, Softball

Natasha Kai, Soccer

Joan Guestschow, Biathlon

Billie Jean King, Tennis

Let’s hope that someday soon, being an out lesbian athlete will not be so unusual. But for now, let’s celebrate the women who are paving the way.

What women in sports are you celebrating today?