A few days ago I found myself bitching and whining because:
“there’s a Red Stick Roller Derby bout this Saturday and I really want to go and I never get to go to any of their bouts because they’re always on Saturdays and I work every Saturday and and and …”
… And my co-worker interrupted my rant and interjected “you only want to go so that you can keep your lesbian street cred.”
And I laughed real hard because that is only 1/8th of the reason I’m dying to go…and then I thought “oooh! Storyline! (I’m always trying to think of new, exciting, interesting things to write about for you ladyfags) Roller Derby is totally related to lesbians!” Let’s talk about it!
There’s no sugar coating it, when people think of Roller Derby, they automatically think “lesbians”. Even I fall victim to this thought, and I have two heterosexual friends on the team! But I think there’s something about this sport that screams “gay” louder than basketball, tennis, soccer, golf, or any other sport that our collective minds associate with gay women. Maybe it’s the fact that the derby girls who are gay aren’t afraid to flaunt their sexuality and speak about it openly. And that’s part of the reason I find the sport so appealing (watching girls fall on top of other girls when there’s fishnets and knee-socks involved is another big, BIG reason too though.) It seems to be the one sport where homosexuality is 100% accepted (maybe even revered) by fellow teammates and fans.
Apparently, that’s been the case since Roller Derby’s starting days. LOGO produced this short film, High Heels on Wheels about women who played the sport in the 50s and 60s. One woman said “Let’s put it this way, my team except for one lady was gay” while another one added “It was a freedom that I hadn’t experienced before…It was thrilling to be in an atmosphere where other people were out of the closet.”
Have y’all heard of the website Live Derby Girls? If not, just click that link so that I don’t have to explain a lot, and then come back here.
This article is a good one in particular that you should check out. I emailed the author (trAC/DC) after reading it, and asked her how most players feel about the “Derby girls are gay” stereotype. Her answer:
In general, I’d say that derby girls don’t like to be stereotyped period, but there’s actually a lot of conflicting stereotypes out there. My now girlfriend thought that all derby girls were straight. Of course, she thought she was straight, too, so…anyways, I know it’s cliché, but I think that women in derby all respond really differently to ideas that civilians have about us.
Well, alright then! She also directed me to this article, which is also a good read if you like reading about other gay women’s histories.
In conclusion…someone picked up my Saturday shift so I get to go to the Red Stick Roller Derby bout and you should go too!!
SATURDAY MAY 21, 2011. BATON ROUGE RIVER CENTER. DOORS AT 5PM. FIRST BOUT STARTS AT 6PM. $14 FOR GIRLS SHOWING LOTS OF LEG…POSSIBLY IN FISHNETS AND KNEE SOCKS AND SHORT SKIRTS (OR SHORTS?) AND A LOT OF OVERALL AWESOMENESS.