In an article in the August edition of Vogue magazine, Chicago Sky star Elena Delle Donne reveals that she is gay and engaged to her longtime girlfriend Amanda Clifton. Donne was the 2015 WNBA MVP and is headed to Rio to represent the USA in the 2016 Olympics.
The article was not intended to be a ‘coming out’ piece by Vogue but Della Donne told the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday that she certainly wasn’t going to hide anything.
“It was just one of those articles where they came into my home and spent a couple of days with me and Amanda is a huge part of my life, so to leave that out wouldn’t have made any sense.”
The couple was engaged on June 2nd. Clifton revealed the engagement through her social media account. Della Donne says that her Sky teammates have known about her relationship with Clifton for awhile.
“They know Amanda. She’s always around. It’s nothing crazy.” Donne said about her Chicago Sky teammates.
Amanda Clifton has served as director of the De11e Donne Academy, a basketball clinic for girls, since 2014. She played point guard at Illinois State University from 2007 to 2011.
Della Donne says that she doesn’t want to live their relationship in the media spotlight since Amanda is not in the spotlight and shouldn’t feel as if she has to get interviewed.
The way that the engagement and relationship has come to light has been a refreshing change from the way a lot of athletes sexuality has become the focal point of past articles. The Vogue article does not focus on the relationship and it is just casually mentioned as if it were not a big deal. After the NFL had a media storm over rookie Michael Sam declaring that he was gay, the casualness of the revelation about Della Donne represents a turning point in our culture about how much we really care about an athletes sexuality.
Of course this is the WNBA and that was the NFL, so it is sort of like comparing apples to oranges. But many see the Vogue article that focuses on the athletic talent of Della Donne and not on the same sex relationship between her and Clifton as a step forward in normalizing same sex couples in the culture of athletics.
Nonetheless, the outing of a major sports star and an Olympian has made headlines already and will surely make more with the Olympic games about to get underway later this month in Rio. The reveal is seen as a step forward in the LGBT community perhaps precisely because it is being treated so casually by Della Donne.