While the media buzz over Kagan may have quieted, the issue of what percent of softball players are gay is still simmering beneath the surface. For decades, the game has had a special place in the hearts of lesbians, who found camaraderie and acceptance at the ballpark. It's a sport that, in its own way, reflects the LGBTQ community: A recent lawsuit challenging a league's rule limiting homosexuals to certain positions highlighted the importance of inclusivity in the game.
There aren't hard numbers on how many players are gay, but experts say that a significant percentage of people who play recreational and competitive softball identify as part of the LGBTQ community. This is due in large part to the fact that the game's team-oriented culture can foster a sense of community, and because of the physical demands of the sport, which require women to develop bodies that do not conform to the stick figure ideal popularized by Sports Illustrated.
As a result, a lot of socializing occurs during games — time for teammates to catch up on what's going on in their lives and share stories about the weekend. For some, this leads to a special bonding that can be difficult to find in other activities.
For some players, that sense of community comes with a price. Whether it's for forgetting to wear your bow or being teased by other girls for not wearing one, being on a softball team can make you a target for homophobic bullying. And that's just not fair.