Last October, I told my mother I would stand before the world and say these two words: I’m gay. I’d scheduled a press conference for that day so I could finally reveal the truth—that I’ve been in a committed relationship with my partner, Alisa Scott, for more than five years. I love Mom so much that I wanted her to hear the news from me first, before somebody else called her up and said, “Guess what I saw on TV today?”
My journey to this moment actually began five years earlier, the summer Mom came to stay with me in Houston. “I want to tell you something right up front,” I said. “I’m seeing someone—and it’s a woman.” At that moment, she simply said, “I know.” Apparently she’d sensed it long before I admitted it. But two hours later, Mom broke down. “What did I do wrong?” she cried. I assured her I was the same woman I’d always been—the same Brownfield, Texas, girl she’d raised to be independent, responsible, strong. “It just happened,” I explained. “Alisa is the person I fell in love with.”
Sheryl Swoopes plays for the Houston Comets in the WNBA.