USTA Strengthens Commitment to LGBTQ+ Inclusion With 3 Partnerships

June 19, 2024

PURCHASE, N.Y., June 18, 2024 –The USTA today announced its strengthened commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion in tennis with new and expanded partnerships with leading LGBTQ+ organizations: The Trevor Project, You Can Play, and Athlete Ally. These organizations join the USTA’s established list of key partners that serve the LGBTQ+ community and support its ongoing work to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all LGBTQ+ players, coaches, fans, staff, and volunteers in tennis. The USTA will work with these organizations to develop and implement programs and initiatives that promote LGBTQ+ inclusion and amplify the power of sport as a force for good.

The USTA’s partnership with The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth, will focus on adult allyship and positive peer role modeling within the tennis community and helping young people form life-affirming social connections that can improve their overall well-being on and off the court. The USTA will also implement The Trevor Project’s CARE (Connect, Accept, Respond, Empower) training, which focuses on having proactive conversations about mental health and identifying the warning signs of suicide risk.

You Can Play is an organization that ensures LGBTQ+ athletes have a positive and inclusive sports experience. The USTA’s partnership with You Can Play will involve four key areas: Pride activations and events, education, communications, and organizational development. This includes developing a USTA Pride Playbook to support USTA events, leading a series of inclusive workplace sessions for USTA staff and volunteers, providing guidance on how best to amplify LGBTQ+ storytelling through different media channels, and advising on policies and practices related to engaging LGBTQ+ employees.

The USTA is expanding its partnership with Athlete Ally, an organization that works to end homophobia and transphobia in sports. Since 2021, the USTA and Athlete Ally have provided education and resources to players and coaches to help them become better allies to LGBTQI+ athletes. This year, the USTA will participate in Athlete Ally’s Activism Summit, a gathering of student-athletes, coaches, and administrators to learn how to drive LGBTQI+ inclusion within athletic departments. In addition, the USTA will work with Athlete Ally to support enhancements around its Champions of Inclusion online curriculum, which provides coaches, athletes, and college athletic departments with resources to help address critical issues facing LGBTQI+ athletes and the necessary tools to create an inclusive environment for all.

These new and expanded strategic partners join the various other LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations with which the USTA works closely to amplify its commitment to diversity and inclusion, including the Gay and Lesbian Tennis Alliance (GLTA), The Pride Chamber of Commerce, and Pride Live. Additionally, the USTA has joined a coalition of professional sports leagues and organizations as a Supporting Partner of Pride Live’s development of the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center, the first LGBTQ+ visitor center within the National Park Service, which opens to the public on June 28.

“We are thrilled to partner with the USTA to further foster inclusive and affirming environments for LGBTQ+ tennis players, coaches, volunteers, and fans – an effort that is as critical now as ever before,” said Troy Robinson (he/him), Chief Development Officer at The Trevor Project. “Together, we look forward to co-creating strategies and spaces that ensure every member of the tennis community can feel safe, seen, and supported, no matter who they are or how they identify.”

“The USTA has laid amazing groundwork with their inclusion initiatives, and You Can Play is excited to support and expand that work to provide tennis participants, coaches and administrators across the country with the resources and education to ensure everyone is welcome on the court,” said Kurt Weaver, Chief Operating Officer, You Can Play. “By joining forces, the USTA and You Can Play are not just changing the score; we are changing the game, ensuring that tennis is a place where every player, regardless of sexuality or identity, feels welcome and valued.”

“Athlete Ally is incredibly grateful for USTA’s support and partnership as we work to expand educational resources for USTA players and coaches. Education provides a foundation for inclusion, and we’re honored to be working together to build a more inclusive tennis community,” said Hudson Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of Athlete Ally.

“Tennis is truly a sport that is open to all, and we are proud to work hand-in-hand with these mission-driven organizations to increase representation and engagement among LGBTQ+ staff, volunteers, and players of all levels,” said USTA Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Marisa Grimes. “We are grateful to all of our strategic partners as they continue to support us in connecting with the diverse communities we’re trying to engage through tennis.”

The USTA is committed to year-round LGBTQ+ engagement, including hosted events, sponsorship opportunities, education and training, increased spending with LGBTQ+-owned businesses and suppliers and employee engagement.

This commitment extends into the US Open, which in 2023 was certified by New York City’s historic Stonewall Inn– the birthplace of the LGBTQ+ rights movement in the U.S.—as a SIGBI Safe Space for the LGBTQ+ community. This designation is given to entertainment and other public venues by Stonewall’s non-profit organization, The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative, and recognizes entities that complete a verification process, advocate for equality, and create a safe space for LGBTQ+ individuals to celebrate, work, shop, and live freely. Further, the fourth annual Open Pride celebration will take place during the 2024 US Open with the goal to spread a message of inclusion and elevate diverse LGBTQ+ voices both inside and outside of tennis.