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NBA Referee Violet Palmer Publicly Announces She’s Gay

August 2nd, 2014 at 7:07 AM
By Matt Agne

On the heals of news that longtime NBA referee Dick Bavetta is retiring, another official is making headlines. As if she hadn't broken down enough barriers as a female referee in the NBA, Violet Palmer has publicly announced she's gay.

Violet Palmer became the first female NBA referee in 1997. Despite many questioning her credentials, she opened the door for future female referees in the sport of basketball.

She attended college at Cal Poly Pomona and won two NCAA Division II women's championships while playing point guard for the 1985 and 1986 teams.

In 2001, she started a camp for youth called Violet Palmer's Official Camp which teaches them how to officiate games. In addition, Palmer took part in an episode of the game show Family Feud in 2010.

Clearly her gender has no affect on her abilities to referee an NBA game. She worked through the critics and has become known as one of the top referees in the league.

Interestingly enough, she was one of three NBA referees who officiated the December 16, 2006, game between the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks famous for the brawl that broke out.

Palmer told her fellow NBA referees that she was gay back in 2007. This, however, is the first time she's done so publicly.

Dan Gelston of the Associated Press reports Palmer's decision to marry her longtime partner.

Violet Palmer made her biggest call yet: The NBA referee will marry her partner of 20 years on Friday.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Palmer says she came out to her fellow NBA referees in 2007. She has not tried to keep her sexuality a secret from the league since that time.

"This is actually the big formal coming out," Palmer said. "We are saying to the world, to everyone, here's my wife of 20 years. This is the big coming out."

Palmer is likely laughing at all the attention this is getting. After all, she's been in a relationship with celebrity stylist Tanya Stine for 20 years. They are just taking their relationship to the next level. Good for them.

The two plan to marry in Los Angeles. It's speculated that Serena and Venus Williams will attend the ceremony. Palmer grew up in the same neighborhood where the Williams sisters lived as children. 

Seeing your team play in the SuperBowl is priceless. Watching the SuperBowl live in the stands for $1 per week is beyond priceless. Find out how at, the future of Championship Tickets. Tags: Basketball, Cal Poly Pomona, Denver Nuggets, NBA, New York, New York Knicks, Serena and Venus Williams, Tanya Stine, Violet Palmer

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