Violet Palmer, First Female NBA Ref, Is Coming Out And Getting Married

Do you realize that Violet Palmer has been an NBA referee for 17 years? That's still not as long as her relationship with her partner of two decades, hairstylist Tanya Stine. The two are getting married tomorrow, so Palmer's using the occasion to publicly announce what her friends and co-workers have known for years: yes, she's gay.

"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, 50, gives an interview to the Associated Press today in which she says she never went out of her way to hide her sexuality, but didn't want to make a big deal of it either.

"I always wanted people to just look at my work," she said. "Not look at my personal life, not look at my sexual preference. That doesn't matter. I just wanted people to say, 'Wow, she is a pretty damn good referee.'"

Whoa, let's not go crazy here, Violet.

[AP]