It is time for a gay sports hero. It is time for the omnipotent sports god to give the American queer the breakthrough pop culture icon for which we have been salivating for years. But who would this gay icon be? Of course, I already have someone in mind.

Naturally, this gay sports icon would be a man, for lesbians have already had Martina Navratilova. Navratilova is responsible for the popularity of women’s tennis among lesbians, inspiring the current wave of muscular, traditional gender role-defying players in the Women’s Tennis Association, such as the avuncular Amelie Mauresmo and the popular, even masculine Williams sisters. Theirs are bigger than yours – ahem, by “theirs” I mean their muscles.

The perfect gay icon would be gorgeous. Men would place pictures of him on their walls and stockholders of Astroglide would laugh all the way to the bank.

He would have a charge card to Banana Republic and Express – for Women. He’d actually prefer to wear women’s jeans because they fit better. When he walked down the street, he’d be immediately recognizable as much for his stature in sports as for his Britney-inspired booty jeans – they’re like a wonder bra for your ass, lifting your buttocks up a bit to make your ass look even more bodacious than it really is.

He’d take pride in knowing he spent $300 on a haircut and that his shampoo was made out of all-organic substances that he could hardly pronounce. He’d also feel better knowing that the latest celebrities were using the same hair products as he, while less-attractive, less-fabulous people were still using Herbal Essence. He’d cringe every time he saw a commercial for Pantene Pro-V. As for conditioners, let’s not even go there.

He’d spend his time with lots and lots of hot men. But after he tired of having men fulfill his prurient thirsts, he would indulge in deep, meaningful two-week relationships with a series of special someones. They’d have to be hot, though. Duh. The story has to be realistic.

He’d be completely self-absorbed, that’s for sure. It would not be uncommon for him to catch a glimpse of himself in the mirror and say, “Fuck yeah! I’d do me!” And who wouldn’t?

He wouldn’t have bodyguards, but instead would be accompanied by two drag queens, “Nay Palm” and “Peaches.” They would be two of the most fierce drag queens you ever did see. But oh! The eye makeup would be a tragedy! For pity. Whenever people saw them on the street, they would think aloud, “Those are two of the fiercest drag queens I ever did see!”

His mother would somehow not know that he was gay. I mean really, she wouldn’t have a clue – mothers are bad about that sometimes. She would wonder why a 29-year-old man was not seeing anyone special, and she’d constantly annoy him about grandchildren.

When he went home to Texas – he’d be from Texas, you see – she’d always try to set him up with one of her coworker’s daughters. They’d be fine prizes for sure, but none of them would make the cut – at least not without major reconstructive surgery. But at least his mother would try.

The most amazing thing about him would be that, in the face of homophobia, sexism, heterosexism and negative stereotyping, he would be an amazing hero to those who would rally around his game.

He wouldn’t feel compelled to change anything about himself, having an aura that would suggest to America, “this is who I am and if you have a problem with it, you can kiss my ass.”

In spite of all of the negative publicity his sexuality would generate, his game would transcend all of that. Indeed, he’d be more than an athlete and more than his sport. He would be the trailblazer that allowed other gay professional athletes to come out of their oversized, luxury closets, showing the world that from nine to five, we’re not all that different from one another.

Of course, what happens after five might be a different story.

Tipton can be reached at

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