Pride in tennis
• 2 MINUTE READ
Tennis is a sport that is open to all. It doesn’t matter who you are, or who you love. That’s why, throughout June, we will be using LTA channels to support Pride month – a time that sees communities coming together in celebration, protest, unity and solidarity.
Kicking this off and to coincide with the start of the grass court season, we will be bringing together elite British and international players to help us celebrate Pride. We will then be following that up with a feature on a unique character from the last century as part of our History Makers series, and finally we paid a visit to a thriving LGBTQI+ tennis group to hear how they are helping to grow the sport and get more people playing tennis.
'A culture of everyday inclusion in tennis'
Our focus on Pride follows on from the publication of our Inclusion Strategy for tennis in Britain a few weeks ago, with an ambition for tennis to be the most inclusive sport in the country. We want to embed a culture of everyday inclusion within all aspects of the sport, with the ultimate goal being to ensure that people playing, working and volunteering in, and watching tennis reflect the diversity of the nation’s communities.
We are starting from a positive place. As things stand, the latest research shows that of all the major sports, tennis currently comes out as the most open and welcoming to LGBTQI+ players. In part, that may be something that has benefitted from high profile role models. The history and future of tennis has been shaped by some incredible LGBTQI+ athletes – people like Billie Jean King have been genuine trailblazers whose voices continue to drive inclusion and diversity forward.
Reflecting last year on the honour of having served as a Grand Marshall for the New York City pride March in 2018, Billie Jean King said:
Those words still ring true, and so while it is important that we take the opportunity of Pride month to highlight LGBTQI+ inclusion in tennis and demonstrate support, it is just the beginning. We therefore won’t be limiting ourselves to just doing something in June, but want to make sure that LGBTQI+ people feel part of tennis throughout the year.
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