Lesbian tennis players Alison Van Uytvanck and Greet Minnen, want more sport stars to say “it’s OK” to be gay. The first openly gay tennis couple to play doubles at Wimbledon said more sports stars showing support would make coming out easier.
Although partners for three years, the two Belgian women played at Wimbledon together for the first time this week.
They join the small band of female trailblazers who came out while playing.
Those women include Wimbledon champions Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Amélie Mauresmo.
Alison Van Uytvanck spoke to The Guardian after a straight-sets victory over British pair Katie Swann and Freya Christie.
“We [would like to] see more people coming forward and saying ‘It’s OK.’
“I think people would have more confidence.
“That would be something good, men would appreciate that.
“More people would come out – it would help to make it easier.”
Last year, after winning a match at Wimbledon, Alison rushed to kiss Greet.
Speaking after that match, she said: “I don’t think that I feel more free now, we just decided that it was something we didn’t want to keep to ourselves.”
The two women said they generally experienced positive reactions to coming out.
However, they acted cautiously in less tolerant countries.
“For sure, we are not going to hold hands if we are in Egypt or somewhere.”
Alison Van Uytvanck and Greet Minnen hoped their example might help others.
“Women are coming out more easily than men. I hope we are something that people can look up to, like a role model to come out,” said Alison.
Alison lost her singles match in a straight sets win to World number one Australian Ashleigh Barty last night at Wimbledon.
QN Magazine | For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.