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Carmen Murguia's thoughts about homophobia in sports

Carmen Murguia's thoughts about homophobia in sports
As sent via email to IOU Sports Carmen Murguia who attended the event shared her point of view,  Enjoy:

On Thursday night, I sat in an audience with my black and white sisters listening intently about women and girls in sports and the myths and lies that are told about us, the truths about our successes and contributions to sports, and how to be an ambassadora of this dialogue.  We were asked by a show of hands, "Who knew who they were by the age of 12?"  Immediately I shot up, man I thought to myself: can we stand up for this question and do it proudly, like I would have when I was 12.  When I was a 12 year old girl I knew this to be true:  I am a proud Mexican.  I am a lovely girl.  I am a girl who likes girls.  I am a proud South Sider from Milwaukee.  I am a basketballer with a sweet hook shot.  This is how the stream came out of my head when I, at 42, was sitting in a room of women, girls, and professionals in sports.  
That pride is in me and it has never left. 
I wondered would we get an opportunity to elaborate about this knowledge we held within, because you know at 12 I got into nothing but fights about who I was - fights with someone who had a problem with me because I was Mexican, fights with boys who would call me a girl as a slur, fights because someone who got in my way on the court and fouled me out (I wouldn't take full responsibility for this one) and finally, fights with girls or boys who would talk behind my back or try and out me before I was even ready. 
My parents instilled in me that Mexican and American pride, to hold onto it with love and admiration and to share it with others wherever I walked.  That Thursday night was no exception. I was so ready to not hold back because who was gonna fight me now?  Nobody. Why?  Because we were in a supportive environment of women empowering and inspiring women -- we had each other's backs Latina, Black and White.  I wanted to share all those reasons I felt pride at 12 that I couldn't then, however could I speak it without crying through it because the emotion is so great even as I write.  I'm sure I could manage through the happiness of what it feels like every morning I wake up and say thank you God for making me Mexican.  Thank you for this beautiful Brown skin you blessed me (even though in Wisconsin it comes out when I'm sun-drenched in the summer months), Thank you for the skills to hoop and recite, the women you have sent me to love, Thank you for making me find that self-love for being a woman in this world, and for the ability to walk into a room with my head up high even at the toughest moments. 
These thoughts flooded me in a sports symposium for women and girls on a Thursday night.  Thank you Bernell Hooker, founder of IOU Sports (whose mission is to provide a unique, educational, cultural and athletic experience for girls and women) for the opportunity to reflect on what it felt like at 12 to know who I was, even though sometimes I was afraid of all that I knew, but acted tough through it anyway and still do.  Celebrating National Latino Heritage Month begins with me, and inside the party is off the hook!
Bernell Hooker

Bernell Hooker is the Founder and CEO of Images of Us (IOU) Sports; a non-profit organization that empowers girls and women through education and sports. "Think of yourself as an athlete. I guarantee you it will change the way you walk, the way you work, and the decisions you make about leadership, teamwork, and success." - Mariah Burton Nelson