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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Former UConn star Stefanie Dolson no fan of being labeled

When former UConn star Stefanie Dolson posted a photo on instagram of a moment of pure joy with her and her partner, she wasn't thinking it would result in her declaring in a story on the ESPN site that she is in a gay relationship. However, in the days since that article was published, the All-Star forward for the WNBA's Washington Mystics has no regrets for letting people know who she is.

Before the Mystics played the Connecticut Sun on Saturday night Dolson entertained questions from reporters, many of whom covered her during her time as a Husky. The nearly 10-minute interview session was dominated with questions about the impact of the ESPN article.

"Everything is great," Dolson said. "Everybody has been supportive. I don't really see it as an announcement. It was mainly to get out that the WNBA as a league is supportive of who we are as women and that is why our fans are so great because they support us too. That is what I've got since the article and everybody has been supportive and just glad I am happy.

"I've had a few people say that it is something that our league needs to have people who are comfortable for themselves to say who they are and let the fans know. Not that everybody needs to, not everybody needs to be public but I am a pretty public person so why not let the fans into who I am."

ESPN, after seeing the aforementioned photo of Dolson, approached her about going public with her life as LGBT professional athlete.

"I had a decision to do it or not," Dolson said. "I think they just saw the instagram stuff, saw that I was happy and see if I would be willing to let the fans into my world.

"I didn't even think about it when I posted the picture. It meant nothing in that aspect, it was just posting a picture of two people really happy."

Not all of the reaction Dolson has received has been of the supportive variety but she merely shrugged her shoulders when thinking about any negative responses she has received in the last week and a half.

"There has been some positive stuff, some negative but everybody has opinions and then there has been stuff where 'OK.' It doesn't matter and that is probably the best reaction. They just take me for who I am and move on.
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"We have taken really big steps forward as a society in general in accepting people for who they are, letting them live, be happy and love whoever they want. It is definitely different from years past to what it is now but there is still space and room to grow."

Dolson, who said in the article that her main objective in any relationship is more about her own happiness than sexual preference, is willing to take the torch as an advocate for the LGBT world.

"It is mainly to be a role model for the younger girls because they don't know what is going on in the world right now but they will grow up being an even better generation than ours for accepting who people are," Dolson said.

"I am willing to (be an advocate), the biggest thing is not labeling. The reason I did the article is putting it out there that the league is accepting but also labeling is not a big necessity. I don't think people should be labeled for who they are whether it is gay, straight, bi-sexual or whatever it is. I am a part of the LGBT community and I have always been even before I came into who I am, I've had friends who are and I am big supporters of them and always have been an advocate."

Dolson has received support from her family as well as current and former teammates.

"It is good that she is kind of able to step out and be herself, everybody can accept her for who she is," said Mystics guard Bria Hartley, a teammate of Dolson's since they were both freshmen at UConn. "I know I will always accept her.

"You have seen her grow and grow, become more open and more comfortable with who she is. I think she is happy and I am happy for her."

Hartley believes the step that Dolson has taken could benefit future generations.

"You want to see young girls and young boys come out and say they are comfortable with who they are regardless of their sexual orientation," Hartley said.

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