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"And not all basketball players are lesbians -- just the ladies."—Michael Buckley of the What The Buck? show
Much like the Navy, women's sports are really, really gay.
The Lesbian Jock, as her name would suggest, loves sports and also loves the ladies. Usually, this trope either takes the form of lesbian characters playing sports, or other people assuming (correctly or incorrectly) that a female character is a lesbian because she enjoys sports. There seems to be a sliding scale of which sports are acceptable for girls without questioning their femininity and which are not. Performance-based sports like gymnastics, figure skating, diving, and cheerleading are all "okay"; most competitive sports like softball, volleyball, track, soccer, tennis, and basketball are 50/50; but "masculine" sports like wrestling, American Football, rugby and, strangely enough, golf are almost a sure bet. One common subtrope is the Butch Lesbian P.E. teacher.
Her rough Spear Counterpart could be considered the Gym Bunny. However, the Lesbian Jock is usually into sports because she's a Tomboy while the Gym Bunny is usually into physical fitness because he's a narcissist. The counterpart of this trope is Lipstick Lesbian.
This trope, of course, can be open to Unfortunate Implications; namely, the idea that certain sports, physical activities and preoccupations are 'reserved' for men and that any women who choose to partake in them are automatically more 'masculine' (and thus in turn inclined to homosexuality) than those who don't. There is an element of Truth in Television, however, as naturally there are plenty of lesbians who do enjoy playing sports; but this doesn't equal that all lesbians enjoy sports or that no straight women enjoy traditionally 'male' sports.
A variant, with many of the same stereotypes, is the Lesbian Cop.
- Bakemonogatari gives us Kanbaru Suruga, a bike-shorts-wearing, very out basketball player with a mean left hook.
- Chisato from the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni manga-only chapter Onisarashi-hen.
- Haruka Tenou/Sailor Uranus from Sailor Moon is Michiru Kaiou's girlfriend, a Bifauxnen, a Sailor Senshi (as well as one half of a Battle Couple with Michiru/Sailor Neptune) and a gifted athlete.
- Subverted in Nyan Koi. Nagi Ichinose is the captain of the school track team, a Bifauxnen who induces Viewer Gender Confusion and plays the part of a Chivalrous Pervert around the other girls. However, she comes to develop a crush on the male main character... While still ogling every other girl in sight.
- Nagisa of Futari wa Pretty Cure tends to get a bunch of love letters from female classmates and underclassmen; it's at least implied that they like her because she's one of the school's star athletes. She wishes she could get letters from boys instead, but there are a lot of instances in which her relationship with Honoka is implied to be a Romantic Two-Girl Friendship, likely to please the Yuri Fanboy Periphery Demographic.
- Battle Athletes
- Monique Swetlik, one of the supporting characters from Cherry Comics. She is essentially a lesbian version of the Gym Bunny.
- But I'm a Cheerleader has Jan, a softball player who says "I like balls" when asked for the root of her homosexuality, although she later turns out to be straight. She's just a really, really butch straight girl.
- And then there's Megan, who uses the fact that she's a cheerleader as proof of her heterosexuality. Subverted once again, as she's actually a lesbian in denial.
- Used as a running joke in Dodgeball, where Patches O'Houlihan assumes that Kate is a lesbian because she's good at sports. Turns out that he's half right.
- The assumption is made in Bend It Like Beckham by Jules' mother. The character was originally intended to be gay, but this was subject to Executive Meddling.
- The Butch Lesbian P.E. Teacher subtrope turned up in Scary Movie, in the form of Miss Mann.
- The "same-sex-oriented" gym teacher in Clueless.
- According to Word of God, Betty Buckley played Miss Collins as this in the 1976 version of Carrie. Subverted in that, while she exhibits a good deal of Les Yay with Carrie, she exhibits few of the stereotypes of this trope, and it's stated that she took her boyfriend to the prom when she was in high school (though it doesn't rule out her being bisexual or closeted).
- Dana Fairbanks from The L Word is a professional tennis player, and season four introduces the character Papi, who plays basketball and admits that she likes to go to games to pick up girls.
- Lesley Tangaroa, the P.E. teacher in Seven Periods With Mr Gormsby, was a lesbian.
- In Boston Public, there was a short controversy inside the school when the rumour got out that the girls PE teacher was lesbian, and had choreographed the cheerleading routine for her personal entertainment (and, admittedly, the entertainment of any male viewers.)
- The Golden Girls had several references to lesbians and tennis. Rose also mentioned a "very confused female PE teacher" being a customer at her kissing booth.
- In a flashback on Friends, Ross gushes that his girlfriend Carol, later his lesbian ex-wife, plays on both the lacrosse team and the golf team.
- "She plays for both teams!"
- Hilarious bit in the 2002 best of part of The Glass House:
Wendy: What exactly are you saying?
Dave: Look... well, we know that all female cricketers are lesbians.
(Crowd goes wild).
Corinne: Every single one of them, Dave. The whole lot of them. You know, I touched a cricket bat once and I had lesbianitis for three weeks. The whole lot of them.
Dave: Uh... well... could we just move on?
- In an episode of The West Wing C.J. has to contend with rumours that she's gay. The "evidence": She played basketball in high school. Yes. So what if she's incredibly tall?
- Coach Beiste of Glee invoked this, explaining specifically that she is NOT. Doesn't help she looks like a Butch Lesbian.
- Law and Order: Criminal Intent: There are several hints that an African-American female lacrosse player has a crush on her friend and later the detectives ask her father which would be worse for him, her being a lesbian or a murderer (he doesn't respond and she's not a murderer. A little overzealous in defending her friend's honor, but not a murderer).
- Harry's Law: An athletic high school student is Driven to Suicide after another student, a popular blogger, gets the entire school to harass her out of the closet. The blogger's justification is that A) there are gay students who are comfortably out and B) she just didn't think about her victim's feelings or that her family/friends outside school/church might not be as accepting as the school it works, she's found not guilty of murder.
- Jane of Degrassi was accused of being a budding lesbian because she was changing in the girls' locker room for football.
- Emily on Pretty Little Liars definitely fits the lesbian part. Whether or not being a swimmer counts as being a jock is debatable, but her girlfriend Maya has called her such on occasion.
- Lisa from Venus Envy. Later on, it's revealed that the rest of the girls' soccer team is gay as well, except for one girl who nervously admits that she might be straight.
- El Goonish Shive did a joke about this as well, when Justin heavily intimated that watching women's volleyball was inherently homosexual.
- Though this may have been a lot less "jock" and a lot more "bouncy boobs." Obviously, there are people who watch women's volleyball for other reasons, but...
- Subverted in Red String. Maya gives off all the right clues: awesome athlete, tall, tan, has a close friendship with both Fuuko and Karen. Then it turns out (after a scandal, a friendship split, and a lot of soul-searching) that feminine and frilly Fuuko is gay, but sporty jock Maya is straight.
- Reiko Ishida, of Survival of the Fittest, is a rare example of one of these that does ice skating. Despite the fact that, as noted above, it tends to be seen as "girly", she is masculine enough (and, well, the obvious) to count as being played straight.
- During the episode of The Simpsons where Homer became a gay-marriage minister, Marge's sister's lesbian fiance was a pro-golfer. Then it turns out that "she" is really a "he".
- This was used as a throwaway gag on The Critic - Jay had a Dream Sequence where he imagined the first girl who kissed him - who later became a lesbian on the women's golf tour.
- In My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, Rainbow Dash's tomboyish, speed-loving personality, mullet, somewhat masculine voice, and rainbow motif leads many fans to assume this.
- A blogger for Ms. magazine accused Dash of being this in an attempt to bash the series for perpetuating this stereotype. Lauren Faust responded in her rebuttal that the character's sexuality is never discussed. Meaning that editor had a pot meet kettle moment.
- It's a similar case with Gilda, some even thinking she's Dash's ex-girlfriend
- In an episode of Family Guy, Meg's gym teacher instructed her students to get in the shower and bounce around, like it was a normal thing.
- During her nomination, Supreme Court justice Elena Kagan was accused of being a lesbian because she played softball in her youth and isn't married.
- The multi-talented Babe Didrikson Zaharias (golf, hurdles, high jump, javelin, basketball) was rumoured to be a lesbian.
- LGBT athletes are listed here. Notable ones include Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova.