Lesbian tennis players Alison Van Uytvanck and Greet Minnen: Sports stars should say ‘it’s OK’ to be gay
Lesbian tennis players Alison Van Uytvanck and Greet Minnen, who are in a relationship, have said more sport stars should come forward to say “it’s OK” to be gay.
The couple—who were the first openly gay couple to play doubles at Wimbledon—have said that it would be easier for players to come out if more sporting stars showed their support.
“We [would like to] see more people coming forward and saying ‘It’s OK.’ I think people would have more confidence,” Uytvanck told The Guardian.
“That would be something good, men would appreciate that. More people would come out – it would help to make it easier.”
Coming out must be ‘difficult’ for men in sport, says Alison Van Uytvanck
The Belgian tennis player said she believes that “there must be” some gay men playing, but admitted that it must be difficult for them to come out.
Minnen suggested that gay men in sport may not come out due to fear of losing sponsorship deals. However, she said that the reaction from their sponsors had been “more positive than negative.”
The couple won the hearts of gay tennis fans everywhere last year when Van Uytvanck rushed over to kiss her girlfriend after winning a match at Wimbledon.
We [would like to] see more people coming forward and saying ‘It’s OK.’ I think people would have more confidence.
Speaking after the match last year, Van Uytvanck 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.
“I’m happy and it doesn’t make any difference if that’s with a woman or a man.”
“I just feel that it’s something we shouldn’t be ashamed about and that does make me feel more free.”
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She continued: “I’m not ill, I don’t have any kind of disease. I just think it’s a good thing because I have been able to come out as a gay person.”
Speaking in March 2018, Van Uytvanck said her parents were “very proud of her.”
“Their support is important, because it makes me feel happier,” she said.
“I came out because it made me feel good. I’m really happy with Greet. She understands me, she understands the game because she’s a player, we train together in the mornings.
“She’s a very warm person and we have a great connection. The only thing I hope is that young people have the confidence to do what we have done.”