​​Joe Biden and Kamala Harris honor the WNBA's Las Vegas Aces at the White House

Chelsea Gray Las Vegas Aces White House Celebration
Chelsea Gray Las Vegas Aces White House Celebration

The Las Vegas Aces were honored at the White House on Wednesday for their 2023 WNBA championship—their second in as many years—but the interaction between Vice President Kamala Harris and Aces point guard Chelsea Gray stood out, especially for the LGBTQ+ community.

Vice President Harris praised the Aces during the East Room ceremony, with Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff present, for the team’s advocacy work, particularly highlighting their efforts to support LGBTQ+ rights.

“In addition to being champions on the court, you all are role models and leaders off the court. You advocate to protect the freedom to vote. You speak out for LGBTQ rights. You fight for pay equity,” Harris said.

In an interview with The Advocate following the ceremony, Chelsea Gray, the 2022 league MVP who presented Harris with a team jersey at the ceremony, shared her thoughts on the moment’s significance. “It was pretty cool, man. I told her [Vice President Harris] to go ahead and out with that. You might have some superpowers, a little bit in an Aces uniform,” Gray joked. She praised Harris for her “fun personality.”

Gray reflected on the broader implications of her White House visit.

“There was a time when my wife and I couldn’t come into this building, so just being able to do that, take photos, and enjoy this moment together was huge,” Gray remarked. The point guard, who is openly lesbian, expressed a deep appreciation for the visibility and acknowledgment of LGBTQ+ issues during such a public and prestigious event.

Gray also discussed her role as a mentor and figure of inspiration for LGBTQ+ youth, emphasizing the importance of paving one’s path. “Sometimes you try to find people that you want to follow, and sometimes it can be hard. Everybody’s journey is a little bit different, so I always say if you haven’t seen a path, kind of create your own and just have fun. You only live one life and enjoy it every step of the way,” she advised.

President Joe Biden also spoke at the event, focusing on the team’s achievements and the broader impact of women’s sports. He emphasized that the nation needs to support women’s sports not just through attendance and viewership but also through sponsorships and programming to help grow the business of women’s sports. He also praised the Aces for their exemplary performance and reiterated the importance of visibility and support for women’s sports.

“It matters to girls and women, finally seeing themselves represented, and it matters to all of America,” Biden said.