This is the sixth in a series of articles profiling known out and proud Olympic athletes who are openly LGBT. The New Civil Rights Movement will publish one article each day as we move into the London 2012 Olympics.
U.S. Olympian Seimone Augustus is 28, an American professional basketball player in the WNBA playing for the Minnesota Lynx, WBC Spartak Moscow Region and playing for the U.S. National Olympic Team at the London 2012 Olympics. And she is a phenomenon to be reckoned with.
At three, Augustus joined a junior basketball team for five-year old boys. Sports Illustrated for Kids featured her on the cover when she was 14. She signed with LSU at 17 where she was a three time All-American and won every National player of the year award available. In 2006, Augustus was the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft and voted a WNBA All-Star and Rookie of the Year. In 2008 she won Olympic Gold in Beijing. In 2011 she led her team to the WNBA Championship and was voted Finals MVP. This summer, Seimone Augustus will join Team USA in pursuit of her second Olympic Gold Medal.
Augustus has been through a lot since her gold medal in Beijing. In June, 2009, Augustus’s hopes for a WNBA title were cut short when she suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament. She sat out the rest of the season and her hopes of a return in 2010 were dashed when she learned she had fibroids and needed surgery to have them removed.
But good things happened in 2010 too. Four years after being graduated from LSU, Augustus became the first female athlete there to have a jersey retired. Only eight other jerseys have been retired at LSU; one is Shaquille O’Neal’s.
Seimone came out as gay to her family at 17, when she was at Capitol High School in Baton Rouge, LA. As a WNBA star, Augustus, now 28, has never hidden her sexuality, but never publicized it until she and LaTaya Varner were engaged. Five years after their first date, Augustus and Varner are planning to exchange wedding rings at a May wedding in 2013. This year is devoted to the Olympic Rings and bringing home the Gold!
Follow our series: “2012 Olympics: Who Are The LGBT Athletes?” as we profile all the out LGBT athletes playing in the London 2012 Olympic games.
Image, top, via Facebook
Stuart Wilber. Photo by Mathew Ryan Williams
Stuart Wilber believes that living life openly as a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender or Allied person is the most powerful kind of activism. Shortly after meeting his partner in Chicago in 1977, he opened a gallery named In a Plain Brown Wrapper, where he exhibited cutting edge work by leading artists; art that dealt with sexuality and gender identification. In the late 1980’s when they moved to San Clemente, CA in Orange County, life as an openly gay couple became a political act. They moved to Seattle 16 years ago and married in Canada a few weeks after British Columbia legalized same-sex marriage. Although legally married in some countries, they are only considered domestic partners in Washington State. Equality continues to elude him.
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