This year was undoubtedly a year of firsts for sporty women who like women. In fact, two women broke barriers in their male-dominated sports (UFC and professional poker, respectively), an old NCAA Women’s Final Four favorite became the first team featured in a nationally recognized anti-bullying/inclusion campaign, and the U.S. Olympic Committee took their first steps to address Russia’s highly scrutinized “Propaganda Law” by expressly prohibiting discrimination in U.S. events and teams on the basis of sexual orientation.
In 2013, we also saw the first on-court, female kiss (and subsequent double foul call) when out Minnesota Lynx star Seimone Augustus and the Phoenix Mercury's Diana Taurasi shared a quick peck during a game, and we watched as an out international swimming hall of famer finally reached her life’s goal.
In 2013 we saw so many positive achievements in female sports, but unfortunately, at the same time we witnessed events that prove that we have many miles left to go — just think about the lesbian ban in Nigeria Women’s Soccer, and the apparent “don’t ask don’t tell” politics of the Winter Olympic games in Sochi.
That said, we wanted to highlight some of the achievements in female sports this year, celebrating the advancements that inspire the younger generations to “go big or go home.”
8) Professional poker player Vanessa Selbst Takes 1st
In January, out professional poker player Vanessa Selbst beat out an all-male field of competitors to take home first place in the $25,000 PokerStars High Roller Tournament, cashing out with a cool $1.4 million in prize money.
Not only did she win the event, she also became the top-earning female tournament player of all time with more than $7 million in total earnings.
Prior to January, Selbst competed and finished as a semi-finalist in World Series of Poker (WSOP) events in Omaha in 2008 and in the 2012 ten-game mix, becoming only the second female to win two WSOP bracelets.
Personally, things are golden for the Selbst: she popped the question prior to the PokerStars event, and her girlfriend said yes.
"I thought if I did it the night before the Super High Roller, that would make me, like, extra lucky," Selbst told PokerStars.TV at the time. "So far it's been working, so I think that was a pretty good strategy."
7) UFC Lesbian Fighter Wins First Lesbian-on-Lesbian Cage Match
In July “Lizbians” everywhere celebrated after out mixed martial arts fighter Liz Carmouche took home her fifth career victory in a UFC fight against openly gay opponent Jessica Andrade. The match at Seattle’s Key Arena was the first time two openly gay fighters went head-to-head in a UFC match.
Carmouche won by technical KO in the second round, with just one minute left. The match aired on FOX nationally, another first, as it was the first time a women’s bantamweight match was aired on broadcast television, preceding the title fight between flyweights Demetrious Johnson and John Moraga.