Diana Taurasi Is Gay (and Gay Married to Former WNBA Teammate Penny Taylor)

Feature image: Keeton Gale/Shutterstock

Saturday, Diana Taurasi married her former teammate, Penny Taylor — and then the two of them hopped over to Talking Stick Resort Arena for the Phoenix Mercury’s home opener. Phoenix lost by ten, but that’s not going to stop Taurasi from breaking the WNBA’s all-time scoring record this year, just like she passed Sheryl Swoopes and became the second leading scorer in U.S. Women’s National Team history last year. She won three National Championships at UConn, four Olympic gold medals, three WNBA championships, and now she’s gay married!

Taurasi told the Arizona Republic: “[It was] just an amazing day, one of the happiest days we’ve ever had. It would have been nice to follow it up with a win, but we’re just really happy. It was one of the times where all our families were together, all the people we love and care for in the city that we met and evolved as teammates and wives now. It’s been pretty cool.”

I grew up playing basketball, from kindergarten to college, and I almost cannot believe how many college and professional coaches and players have come out in recent years. The WNBA has grown leaps and bounds since it began in 1996. It tried A League Of Their Own-levels of hard to paint itself as a fine upstanding group of beautiful, feminine, straight young women playing ball for crowds of straight couples and their straight kids. Sheryl Swoopes blew up the world when she came out in 2005. A couple of years ago, the WNBA decided it was going to go after the fan base that’d been there all along — gay women, and since then players have lived out without feeling like they have to come out. But it’s always heartening when they do.

Former WNBA player Candice Wiggins actually pushed back on the WNBA’s embrace of gay players and fans last year. She said “98 percent” of players are gay and “were deliberately trying to hurt [her] all of the time” because, unlike them, Wiggins was “proud to be a woman.” It was a tense moment for the league, but almost shockingly, nearly every major sports network, website, magazine, commentator, player, coach, and fan came down against Wiggins’ claims.

“I’ve never witnessed the kind of bullying Wiggins describes in her interview,” 11-year WNBA veteran Monique Currie wrote at the time. “This does not mean it did not happen, but I’m proud to be a part of a league that supports inclusion and celebrates all players, regardless of their race, religion, or sexuality. We are a family made up of players that love and respect the game of basketball.”

Women’s basketball legend Jennifer Azzi came out last year, and even though that step made her the only openly gay woman coaching in the NCAA, she received huge support from the community. “I’m super proud of Jennifer as a leader and a coach,” University of San Francisco Athletic Director Scott Sidwell told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Our university is a place of inclusive excellence. We’ve had a tremendous outpouring of support.”

Diana Taurasi is one of — if not the — greatest women’s basketball players of all time. Countless little girls around the country wear her jersey and cheer her on. She’s their hero. And now, like Seimone Augustus and Angel McCoughtry and Elena Delle Donne and Sharnee Zoll-Norman and Brittney Griner and Candice Dupree and DeWanna Bonner and more, Taurasi is out and proud and happy.

“That was our special thing,” Taurasi said yesterday. “We never kept it secret, we just didn’t want that to be an issue ever.”

Her choice to come out means that it will keep becoming less and less of an issue for all the little girls who take the court after her.

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Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 1221 articles for us.

38 Comments

  1. I DIDN’T KNOW
    I DIDN’T KNOW
    AND I REALLY FEEL LIKE I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN
    BECAUSE
    WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
    AND GAY STUFF
    ARE MY TWO PRIMARY LIFE INTERESTS

    Heather Hogan, you are the only news outlet I need.

    • Okay I just reread it after originally reading it when it was published last year and maybe I just totally misremembered it? Or maybe it was edited? Hmm

      It still only explicits refers to Griner’s lesbian sexuality but I thought I remembered a “taurasi, who is straight”

      • I’m not sure if she would self identify as gay (obviously not straight though). I think the WNBA has a tendency to emphasize any player that has any slight interest in men…(See how much the WNBA publicized Penny’s first marriage).

        I’m glad she and Penny are open about it now.

        • Thanks for weighing in! I’m glad you also remember reading it/the lack of mention of Taurasi’s sexuality (which in itself is fine especially because she has self-described as private) but maybe it was my own internalized heteronormativity that bc they were mentioning Griner’s sexuality as explicitly gay that I assumed the implication was Diana was straight. Crazy to think about. I have some self-reflecting to do.

  2. Thank you, Heather, for enlightening us to this very important news. This is so relevant to my interests.

    And congrats to Diana. May she continue being awesome and athletic and happily married.

  3. Heather, thanks so much for writing about this story. There is not an awful lot of sports stuff to write about and it can’t be said enough how important, 1. that Diana is OUT AND PROUD because it would be a hard argument to make that any other female basketball player is better than she is and no one can put that lightly! When I first starting playing basketball and the WNBA became a league, there was Rebecca Lobo, Sheryl Swoops and Tina Thomas and they dominated the headlines when speaking about Women’s basketball; however, Diana changed the way female basketball players in the league were able to navigate their agency and who and how much she played for; she was the first female player to sign a million plus dollar contract overseas and she forced the WNBA forward when they had to stand at notice when international women’s basketball leagues courted her talents. Now to put that in scope, and the fact that she has married her wife, and the WNBA not only supports that, but fundamentally embraces that, is huge! This is a league where the most recognized stars and talent ARE GAY and the league supports the culture and promotes their talent on the level of being Proud and inclusive, that’s HUGE for sports.
    Diana Taurasi and the WNBA just shattered another glass ceiling and I must say, thank you a billion for noticing and sharing with everyone Heather! You make exciting and wonderful news even greater!

    • I’m very happy for both of them. I wish them the best. May they enjoy their happiness and love.

      They both love the game of basketball. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Gay or straight. We all want to be happy with the one we love

  4. All these years of fighting for equality and our marriage is still not equal. They got married, the gay part is unnecessary and invalidates the entire point of all we have fought for.

  5. on the one hand, I LOATHED Taurasi because I grew up watching Pat Summitt’s teams in the late 90s/Early 2000’s, but on the other hand, I am immensely happy for her :D

    (Also, Jennifer Azzi is from my hometown. I grew up wearing oversized tshirts with her name on the back lol)

  6. As a die hard Lady Vols fan my heart won’t let me be a super fan of Taurasi, but I have always enjoyed watching her play and there’s no doubt about her talent. Happy she is out and proud and wish nothing but the best for her and Penny Taylor.

    Props to the WNBA too for embracing out players like this. It’s great to see so many women in the league feeling comfortable to be open about their relationships and the league support that. If only I lived closer to a team to catch more of their games!

  7. I’m very happy for both of them. I wish them the best. May they enjoy their happiness and love.

    They both love the game of basketball. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Gay or straight. We all want to be happy with the one we love

  8. The most interesting part of this for me has been watching the reactions of people who had no idea Taurasi and Taylor were even together. You knew it was love when Penny followed Diana to Russia during the winter when she could have been sunning on the beaches in Australia.

    Personally, I wish them nothing but the best.

    Professionally, though? I hope the Mercury continued to be mired in mediocrity…doing well enough to not earn a top draft pick and poorly enough to never contend for another WNBA title.

  9. Because gay Australian sportswomen are my major area of interest / future game show special subject, I feel it is important I let you know that you all need to look up pictures of Erin Phillips and her wife and their beautiful twins. Erin came back to Australia to play in the first ever women’s australian football season and won the best and fairest and also the premiership with my team. And she thanked her wife and they kissed when she won. And given not a single male footballer has come out it was pretty huge and amazing. Also her bicep muscles look amazing in football gear.

  10. Just an FYI, we have a very out, happy lesbian coach here at Vanderbilt University, Stephanie White, former coach of the Indiana Fever. She and her wife and their kids are very active in the Nashville community and Stephanie was very vocal about her support for the LGBT community during her interview process and since her hiring. Super happy for Jennifer Azzi. Also super happy to report she’s not the only out lesbian coach in the NCAA!

    • Allison Guth, the Yale women’s basketball coach, is also out!

      How do I know? Because once I was on a plane her and her wife and they pinged from about a mile away. A bunch of the team was on the plane too, and they pinged too, and it was a glorious plane ride.

      (But also I’m not outing her, she’s quite open if you Google her, as I was moved to do after that wonderful plane ride.)

  11. What the Hell? The headline gets me. Gay Married? Why not just married or if you start with Diana is gay wouldn’t that automatically mean married to a woman?
    Anyway…… Congratulations Diana, your amazing!

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