A Quick Guide to Choosing The Gayest WNBA Team to Root for This Season

Last weekend, the 2020 WNBA season tipped off with six games in two days. You know what that means: professional basketball is back, baby. What it also means: the hottest, most talented queers are playing basketball on your teevee for the next two months. If you’re anything like me, you’d follow attractive queers into fire if they asked you to. But you don’t even have to risk life and limb to support queer women from your couch by watching them play basketball (or just check out their asses while they shoot free throws, I’m not here to judge).

The WNBA is objectively the gayest professional sports league. They have a very large number of openly queer players, coaches, and executives. They have Pride initiatives that go beyond symbolic gestures involving rainbow tape (and they definitely don’t have Sean Spicer throw out the first pitch at their Pride Games — looking at you, Minor League Baseball). Their new collective bargaining agreement has queer-inclusive family planning benefits.

And as a result of the gaggles of lesbians on the court, it means that queer aesthetics are front and center in the WNBA. They are celebrated and allowed to exist. In a world where masculine-of-center women are not often visible, they are showing off their game day outfits, in all their swaggy glory (though there’s femme magic here, too!).

Though I am a sports writer, I had never really watched basketball before two years ago. I mostly covered and followed baseball, and larger cultural issues at the intersection of sports and gender. But I was tired of watching Major League Baseball, a league whose players, I was pretty sure, would hate me as a person. It felt harder and harder to put aside parts of my identity — woman, queer, survivor of violence — to try to enjoy the sport I loved. I decided to attend my first WNBA game, alone, in 2018. I drove to Connecticut to watch the Sun play the New York Liberty on a Wednesday morning.

The crowd was so queer and so joyful; I ended up sitting with a group of older lesbians who spent the entire game heckling the refs. I couldn’t take my eyes off Courtney Williams, who was putting on a show on the court, but who had a bit of magic to her and a look I recognized as unabashedly — and unquestionably — queer (which I later got to talk to her about when I profiled her the next season). I couldn’t stop watching her because she was good at basketball, but I also saw an affinity in her (and yes, fine, she’s totally my type with her butchy swagger). I was hooked.

When it comes to queer women in sports, the women of the U.S. National Soccer Team tend to get a lot of our attention. But the women of the WNBA get largely ignored by queer communities, especially when it comes to thirsting after them, and I can’t help but think there’s some racism in that. We should be as excited by these queers and lesbians as we are about Megan Rapinoe and Ashlyn Harris!

This column aims to show you what you’ve been missing by not watching these women and, if you have, I hope you’ll find the queer lens on the league you’ve been looking for here. We’ll cover real stuff, like the fact that the WNBA is the only professional league to ensure their social justice work is trans inclusive, alongside lighter stuff, like thirst traps and queer Daddy content.

Whether you come for the basketball and queer aesthetics are a bonus, or you come for the daddies who will wreck you and get some basketball on the side, there has never been a better time to get into the W and support queer women athletes. This is a condensed season because pandemic, taking place in the Wubble — women’s bubble — in Bradenton, Florida. There are two game courts and no fans, which has so far made for a lot of fun listening to the coaches and players yell at each other. More games than ever before are airing on national stations, so the league is more accessible than ever before.

In case you’re new to the game, here’s a quick guide to choosing the gayest team to root for this season.


Washington Mystics

The Mystics are coming into the 2020 season as the reigning champs, but have been considered a bit of an underdog since most of their superstar players have chosen to opt out of this season — including queer players Natasha Cloud, who is pursuing the fight for racial justice, and last season’s MVP Elena Delle Donne, who is sitting out for health reasons. But the superstars sitting out have given some lesser known bench players a chance to shine and, one week into the season, they seem to be stepping up into their new roles quite well. It’s a locker room that created a safe enough space for Aerial Powers to feel like she could come out last season, and she and her current girlfriend are creating some killer vlogs from the Wubble.

New York Liberty

The Liberty have objectively the best color scheme in the league, so you can guarantee you’ll look great in their merch (this is a big selling point, if you ask me). They are also a very young team — including Sabrina Ionescu, the most anticipated rookie in years — who may need to find their footing this season but should be fantastic in the coming years (you can say you were a fan of them when!). They also have a solid veteran presence in Layshia Clarendon, a gender nonconforming, queer player who heads up the Social Justice Committee and was a huge part of ensuring that queer-inclusion in the league’s new CBA.

Connecticut Sun

I’m probably biased, but I’m just here to watch Alyssa Thomas run over opponents like a semi-truck and desperately wish it were me on the receiving end of her wallop. Look, she plays with an intensity that’s unmatched, has “choke me daddy” energy to her off-court style choices, and seems like she’d probably run you over if you asked nicely enough. What’s not to love? If AT’s swagger isn’t your thing, don’t worry! The Sun are also home to coach Curt Miller, the first openly gay man to coach a professional sports team.

Chicago Sky

The Sky are the team that a lot of people might sleep on, but you shouldn’t do that. They lost in last year’s playoffs to an absolutely bonkers shot from the Aces’ Daerica Hamby and are out to prove themselves this season. They’re also home to adorable married couple, teammates two-time All-Star Courtney Vandersloot, who holds the all-time WNBA record for most assists in a season, and three-time All-Star Allie Quigley (known together as #VanderQuigz). Oh, and center Stefanie Dolson, queen of hard femme realness and giving love to Black trans folks on her game-day shoes, who is recovering from coronavirus but is in the Wubble.

Atlanta Dream

The Dream are a new-look team this season, as many of their long-time players found new homes, while others are opting out for the season. They’ve made headlines for owner Kelly Loeffler’s open racism and bigotry, but the players have been outspoken in condemning her stance on, well, pretty much everything. Look for Courtney Williams, playing for her hometown team, to make a big impact (she also makes music and made a very gay video for her first single, “Shiesty B*tch,” starring her then-girlfriend, YouTuber Glamazontay) when she joins her team.

Phoenix Mercury

The Mercury have some of the best to ever play the game on their roster, and they also happen to be very outspoken about being very gay. Diana Taurasi, one of the greatest to ever play the game and the absolute queen of trash talk, is married to former WNBA player Penny Taylor, and center Brittney Griner has been one of the most outspoken players on the court regarding LGBTQ+ rights. They should be one of the best in the league, but their defense has looked shaky to start the season; hopefully they’ll shake off the rust and dominate the way they’re expected to.

Seattle Storm

The Storm are a safe choice for your favorite team because they are very good at basketball. They also have Sue Bird, who everyone knows is the GOAT, and who most queers know is partnered with soccer star Megan Rapinoe. Together they are the most decorated sports couple of all time (I’m too lazy to verify this but I will fight you if you disagree), and separately, 39-year-old Bird is superhuman.

Los Angeles Sparks

Come for Brittney Sykes in her “Daddy” hat, stay for veteran Seimone Augustus’ shoe collection and her teammates calling her “grandma.” That’s it, that’s the entire gay case for following the Sparks: Brittney Sykes in her “Daddy” hat with her knee tattoos and her incredible ability to play defense and also bring a spark (sorry) to the offensive side of the court.

Dallas Wings

Another team that could come out and surprise everyone this year is Dallas. They’re great because their mascot is a pegasus, which is inspired and original. More teams should wear mythical creatures on their jerseys, imo. Mythical creatures are very gay. From a strictly basketball standpoint, they’re another young team who is still coming into themselves, but look for Arike Ogunbowale to really find her footing in her second year in the league, and number 2 draft pick, rookie Satou Sabally, to make her mark.

Indiana Fever

If you want to get chaotic, the Fever are a good team to root for, mostly because they’re not expected to be near the top of the standings this year but hey, everyone loves an underdog story. Case in point: the Fever are home to Erica Wheeler, the only undrafted player to be MVP at an All-Star game and very, very stylish dresser. She’s not in the Wubble yet, but she will be soon. They also have veteran Candice Dupree, who has been married to the Sun’s DeWanna Bonner since 2016 and shoots very pretty three-pointers.

Minnesota Lynx

The Lynx are a classic choice. They’re something of a dynasty in the W, and have coach Cheryl Reeve, who I love for being mouthy and calling out misogyny and disrespect of women’s basketball wherever she sees it (and for putting together an all-women’s coaching staff). Assistant Coach (and WNBA legend in her own right) Rebekah Brunson likes to post very cute pictures of her wife and baby.

Las Vegas Aces

The Aces are without some of their stars this year, who have opted out of the season but that doesn’t mean they’re not good. In fact, this is a team with players who can hurt you up and down the roster. If you’re in it for the eye candy, may I suggest Danielle Robinson’s soft daddy aesthetics?

I’ll see you next week and, here, have Myisha Hines-Allen’s arms, as a treat:

Britni is a freelance writer whose work sits at the intersection of sports, gender, & queerness. Her writing has been featured in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Vogue, The Atlantic, Vox, and many more.

Britni has written 1 article for us.

50 Comments

  1. Yes!!!! Going to my first Storm game was unforgettable. I had never been around so many queer women before! My wife and I are now devoted fans and trying to get all our friends into the WNBA.

  2. I love everything about this but finding out Seimone Augustus’ teammates call her “grandma” is a dream come true. Watching her play in real life several times when she was at LSU was a turning point in my lesbian awakening. I remember being at the UGA coliseum her sophomore year (my senior year) and whispering under my breath “Do I just love women?”

  3. Yesss thank you Autostraddle this is the column I’ve always hoped for!

    Atlanta is not my team but I would absolutely love it if they won and just used every moment of their celebration to advocate for Black Lives Matter and against Kelly Loeffler.

      • Right?! I’ve been so frustrated watching their players step up and make it rain while the broadcasters keep saying things like, “I really miss me some Elena Delle Donne right now.” How disrespectful to the players actually on the court who are showing up and putting up incredible numbers. I hope they get their due as the season goes on!

    • I think that right now people are discounting the Sun and Liberty based on win record so far and they might surprise folks by the end. Neither team has a win yet but both team have players in the top 5 for scoring right now (DeWanna Bonner and Alyssa Thomas for the Sun, Sabrina Ionescu for the Liberty). I know the Liberty especially are a longer-term building project but if one or both of those teams finds their rhythm to support those three players things can change fast.

      • If the Sun are going to make a run for anything, they’re gonna have to have someone besides Alyssa Thomas and DeWanna Bonner making shots. They lost Jones when she opted out and Courtney Williams in free agency, they lost their three-point expert in Shekinna Stricklen, and they’re bench production left with Rachel Banham and Layshia Clarendon. I hope they can get their shit together soon, with such a short season.

        I don’t expect the Lib to be in the running this year, but maybe they’ll surprise us. But whew, Sabrinaaaaa!

  4. Just wanted to highlight my personal MVP DeWanna Bonner as a PRETTY DANG GAY reason to support the Sun!!! She gets a shoutout via her wife in the creds for the Fever, but I *JUST* want Bonner to get her due after being hidden behind Griner and Taurasi for 10 years!!! She may not be the loudest, but she is such a great team player in addition to being a superstar of epic proportions. The Merc were my team for the past two seasons, but they traded my three favorite players (Bonner, January, and Mitchell), and their play seems to be a bit more star-focused rather than team-focused. So for now: go Suns!!!!

  5. It’s a bummer that it took a global pandemic to get more WNBA games played on national TV. But I will TAKE IT! Hopefully the powers-that-be are paying attention to the ratings (opening weekend viewership was up 63% compared to 2019) and not just writing them off as people being desperate for the return of any form of live sports. This league is so entertaining and worthy of attention, thanks to the high-level of play by some of the best athletes in the world who are also incredible activists and role models. The fact that the WNBA is “objectively the gayest professional sports league” is just the perfect cherry on top!

  6. Also want to shout out Chelsea Gray and Candace Parker of the LA Sparks! Amazing players. Chelsea just was married to her beautiful wife this past summer, and Candace has a bae without labels who has been her Insta forever. Also though I think she’s not queer, Nneka Ogwumike is a badass Stanford grad who is president of the players’ association and was integral in this year’s historic cba.

    But y’all should root for Chicago, we are going to win the championship this year

  7. My favorite fact about the WNBA is that the person who won the 3-point competition three years in a row is not, as most people guess, Steph Curry of the NBA (and flat earther), but WNBA’s Allie Quigley. <3

  8. Bless you for this content. My family loves going to Storm games in part because we see so many other families that look like ours. Side note – one of my 7 year old son’s prized possessions is his Sue Bird trading card, yet he could not name a single NBA player.

  9. Thank you so much for this amazing content, Britni. I’ve been wanting to become an WNBA fan, but was stymied by not knowing much about specific players and teams. Now I’m so excited to root for all the gays! <3

  10. I love this so much!! I just want to add that the delightful hum of low-level sexual tension always present during WNBA games appears to have be up SEVERAL notches in the Wubble, and I, for one, am loving it. I mean, did you SEE that video that Sue Byrd made for Holly Rowe where Sue said Holly could find her in the pool any time???? Aired in the middle of the game, on network television. What a time to be alive.

  11. I love this so much!! I just want to add that the delightful hum of low-level sexual tension always present during WNBA games appears to have be up SEVERAL notches in the Wubble, and I, for one, am loving it. I mean, did you SEE that video that Sue Bird made for Holly Rowe where Sue said Holly could find her in the pool any time???? They aired in the middle of the game, on television!! What a time to be alive.

  12. I was just wondering this week why Britni de la Cretaz hasn’t written for AS yet. Sooo what a timing! This is awesome! I have never seen a basketball game but now I’m HIGHLY motivated to find out where I can stream WNBA games in my country.

  13. Sue Bird the GOAT forsure
    But what’s up with that first article? We should be watching these women because they’re hot? Isn’t that the attitude we are trying to get away from?

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