"And not all basketball players are lesbians — just the ladies."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. From this standpoint, the Spear Counterpart would be Performance Artist, where certain performance arts are 'reserved' for women and that any man who choose to partake in them are automatically more 'feminine' (and thus in turn inclined to homosexuality) than those who don't. The same logical fallacy applies. A variant, with many of the same stereotypes, is the Lesbian Cop.
— Michael Buckley of the What The Buck? show
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet zigzags it like crazy with the Pirate Queen Lukkage. While she certainly shows regard for her crew, she personally takes raiding like a sport. She actually keeps lesbian cohorts on chain leashes (who fight just as hard as she does when not at play), but seems to show true affection to a male expatriate of Gargantia.
- Bakemonogatari gives us Kanbaru Suruga, a bike-shorts-wearing, very out basketball player with a mean left hook.
- Chisato from the Higurashi: When They Cry 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 Fan Periphery Demographic.
- Hibari from Stop Hibari Kun is straight but the volleyball clubs captain is tsundere for her.
- Monique Swetlik, one of the supporting characters from Cherry Comics. She is essentially a lesbian version of the Gym Bunny.
- Upper-class variant from Y: The Last Man when up until then nerdy Dr. Mann grabbed a sword after being confronted by a Ninja.
i'm an Ivy League Lesbian, bitch! [sword flourish] You honestly don't think that I've ever fenced before?
- 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: A True Underdog Story, 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, specifically to avoid seeming to endorse the stereotype that all girls who like sports are gay.
- THE trendsetter: Personal Best.
- The Butch Lesbian P.E. Teacher subtrope turned up in Scary Movie, in the form of Miss Mann. Subverted in that she has a huge and visible pair of balls.
- 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. However, instead of being a Butch Lesbian like many versions of this trope, she has a very feminine appearance, and the bulk of her interaction with Carrie is complimenting her looks and giving her beauty tips. She also mentions having taken the captain of the basketball team to her own prom, although this doesn't rule out her being closeted what with her prom taking place in the 60's.
- In the short film Size 'Em Up, the teenage soccer player Sam (played by Lindsay Felton) is heavily implied to be a lesbian.
- In Stardom, main character Tina Menzhal (Jessica Pare) mentions that she had been with girls before. Her friend is surprised, but Tina says that it's not really unusual because she played softball in school, and uses the phrase "dykes on spikes" to describe the phenomenon.
- In Girls FC, it isn't stated outright, but it's pretty heavily implied near the end of book 8, when Tabinda asks her coach Hannah if she ever gets afraid of anything. Hannah replies that she wanted to tell her parents something about herself, but was afraid to. When she finally did, they told her, "Oh, we've known that for ages".
Live Action TV
- 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.
- Dot Jones, the actress who plays Beiste, has a Girlfriend real life.
- Law & 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.
- There is also Paige, who is a lesbian that is a swimmer and a field hockey player. She even has a penalty named after her. She doesn't actually qualify as a Butch Lesbian though.
- Then there's Shana who had a fling with Paige and is in love with Jenna, and Sydney who is Ambiguously Gay both of whom are swimmers. Are there any straight members on that swim team?
- On The Drew Carey Show, Drew recalls the time his dad made him go to golf camp for the summer, claiming he'd meet girls there. "Thanks a lot, Dad. My first kiss was with a 14 year old lesbian!"
- On One Big Happy, Lizzy's friends play "Gay or Nay" to determine if her crush Kate is a lesbian. She tells them that she played soccer in highschool ("Yay!") but she wasn't very good ("Nay."), and she prefers tennis (which throws the others for a loop).
- On Beverly Hills 90210, several of Donna's sorority sisters makes snide comments along this line about a female basketball player that Donna has nominated to join the group. Donna blasts them for their ignorant assumption and homophobia.
- 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.
- The Simpsons:
- During the episode 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".
- When Lisa is tempted by a full-ride scholarship to any one of the "Seven Sisters" womens' colleges, she has a dream sequence where an avatar of each of them speaks to her. Smith College is represented by a Butch Lesbian in a Lacrosse uniform that tells her "Come to Smith... and experiment."
- 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 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. She is officially confirmed to be lesbian in a later episode, where she is seen at the sperm bank with her partner.
- In another episode Peter and the guys are playing softball, and a woman steps up to bat from the other team. Peter orders his teammates to move in, then a woman in the stands calls out to the batter and calls her "babe", and the catchers move back out.
- Eleanor Roosevelt's clone is portrayed as a parody of this trope on Clone High.
- Korra of Legend Of Korra is bisexual, not a lesbian, but otherwise fits the trope: she is tough, strong and a former professional athlete.
- 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.