To celebrate June's Pride Month, some of today's WTA stars joined other athletes from around the world to discuss the challenges, hopes and progress that has been made and what the LGBTQ community means to them. Here they are in their own words:
Madison Keys on Pride Month and people coming together
Pride Month to me is this massive celebration of all of these different people coming together and celebrating being yourself, being true to yourself. I have been incredibly embraced by the LGBTQ+ community. I have quite a few fans and I think the biggest thing is that I love the ability to just be yourself and be true to yourself.
Demi Schuurs on the LGBTQ Community
I think it’s really important to know that you have support from people around you in the LGBTQ community. For me in the beginning, I felt like I was the only one. Of course, that’s not true. You have so many other people to support you and have the same story as you. I think overall it is very nice to have a community like that.
Ashleigh Barty with advice for others going through struggles
I do without a doubt knowing how challenging at times it can seem to be comfortable in yourself. However, don’t be afraid to be yourself and don’t be afraid to be confident in who you. Who you are, it’s enough. It’s perfect. It’s imperfect, but it’s enough. Having that strong support network in your life is an important thing. I’ve been very lucky to have a strong group of people around me that have helped me become the person I am and have helped me become proud, confident and strong.
Greet Minnen on her turning point feeling comfortable and confident
I was around 19 when I first came out. I don’t think there was a particular moment when I felt most comfortable, but it was just after Alison and I were in a relationship. We told everyone after and saw so many people supporting us. That made us just feel really nice and loved.
Alison Van Uytvanck on the impact of the LGBTQ community
It’s been amazing to see a lot of the community come together and a lot of countries supporting it. It was nice to get the support of each country and a lot of people asked us to do some meetings with other LGBTQ people. It’s really nice to get this confidence into the world and hopefully more people can come out and be happy with who they are.
Toni Breidinger (NASCAR) on Pride Month and advice for others
Pride month means love and equality for all. Some of my closest friends are part of the LGBTQ+ community, and they’ve taught me that everybody deserves to be treated equally and that everybody deserves to be loved. Being part of a male dominated sport, I haven’t always been treated equally, but they really taught me that I do deserve to be treated as an equal. My biggest piece of advice is to surround yourself with people that lift you up and make you feel comfortable, make you feel confident in yourself and be able to embrace yourself and really who you are.
Jason Collins (NBA) on his journey & the LGBTQ Community
Don’t ever think you have to go on the journey of life alone. Find people who uplift you and keep you in a positive mindset. Find those people who inspire you to be the best version of yourself. Live your authentic life, but know that there are members of the LGBTQ community ready for you to you step forward to support you and cheer you on.
Ryan O’Callaghan (NFL) on his journey
For the first 30 years of my life I struggled to be myself and fit in. I was closeted and spent every day try to be someone that I wasn’t and playing sports. But after I came out publicly, I heard from so many different athletes and all our stories are very similar in a lot of ways. It’s been great to be able to connect with these different people. I encourage everyone out there to unapologetically be yourself and have confidence that those around you in the world will catch up and support you one day.