There was a time when pride in the LPGA was a private matter, a celebration whispered within the tour, the shared strength of the family who tacitly cared for its diverse members. Now Pride Month is getting loud thanks to these players like Mel Reid who have publicly shared their homosexuality and all of those in the tour’s family who supported them.
The World Tour of Golf is a brilliant snapshot of the rich mosaic of differences that make up the essence of the human mind. The LPGA Tour is perhaps the most complicated unit in the world of professional sports. Its players come in all sizes, shapes and colors and represent the complexities of life, racial, ethnic and sexual orientation.
This diversity is really the strength on which the LPGA builds its brand. Every week, the tour not only offers highly qualified athletes the opportunity to showcase their talents, but also offers them a platform on which they can prove their individuality. The LPGA calendar has Pride Month 12 times a year. Each week the tour promotes the diversity of its players.
“For me, Pride month is all about inclusion,” says Reid, who presented himself to millions of LPGA fans as gay at the end of 2018. “It’s a month that will hopefully educate people and raise awareness in the LGBTQ community.”
For Reid, openness was part of a process of managing some of the professional disappointments in her life and helping her come to terms with the very personal loss of her mother Joy in a car accident in 2012 when she was on stage the kind and the way Mel competes at a LET event.
Openness also enabled Reid to realize that she is part of a much larger LBGTQ community and that her LPGA tour family is with her every step of the way.
“I hope that it will continue like it has in recent years,” says Reid. “People literally sacrificed their lives to make Pride Month a reality, so it is extremely important to me that our generation and the next generation understand this and continue to push for inclusion.”
In fact, Pride Month falls in June to honor the Stonewall demonstrations in New York City, which began on June 28, 1968 and lasted for several days, as thousands took to the streets to demand equal rights for the gay community. Reid is also aware that there have been some on the LPGA tour before her who started in a different time and couldn’t be open.
“I think the great thing about the LPGA tour is that it has always been a global tour,” says Reid. “Over the past year, I feel like the players have stepped up in the things they believe in. I am very proud of what the organization is doing and what the players are driving forward. “
Part of what the LPGA brings to Pride Month is that feeling of celebrating diversity. The tour offers gifted athletes the opportunity to compete – and make a living – but it also gives them the opportunity to grow as people by embracing that diversity.
The LPGA Tour is an organization that has long marketed itself with the slogan: “See how it’s out here.” That has always been a complex slogan and takes on a special meaning in Pride Month. The LPGA Tour is about supporting the differences of every single player.
Members of the LBGTQ community know they have a friend on the LPGA tour. The oldest continuous professional women’s sports organization has fought against discrimination in many forms in its 71 years – be it related to gender, race or sexual orientation.
With her bold words, Mel Reid has walked through an extremely important personal door and the LPGA Tour is there professionally to ensure that the door stays open. Other women will join Reid on her journey, and the LPGA Tour will support those who have chosen to join the golf family.
Pride Month is a time to acknowledge the past, embrace the present, and set goals for the future. It’s a time for women like Reid to share their stories. It is a time for all of us to thank them for their role in making pride possible.
Each week, the LPGA Tour and its sponsors host tournaments with opportunities that offer rewards based on one thing – skill. The world tour of golf has always torn the flaps open on its tent and the LBGTQ community is a rich part of the talented and diverse mix that has entered.
For the LPGA Tour, Pride Month celebrates a special part of women’s golf. And this is a celebration that is just beginning.