LPGA Tour pro Mel Reid has outlined the reason behind coming out as gay, saying ‘it’s important for me to always fight for equality’.
While everybody close to the 31-year-old knew she dated women, Reid made the public announcement in a Q&A on the website of Athlete Ally, an organisation that fights for equality and inclusion in sport.
Reid is now an ambassador for Athlete Ally, whose mission is ‘to end the rampant homophobia and transphobia in sport and to activate the athletic community to exercise their leadership to champion LGBTQ equality’.
“I wanted to be part of Athlete Ally because I feel it’s important for people to be themselves,” said Reid, a six-time Ladies European Tour winner. “Just because they love someone that may not be ‘socially correct’, it does not make them any less of a person.
“It’s important for me to always fight for equality. I’ve been fortunate to have a platform to reach a lot of people and I’ve tried to take advantage of that when I can. Athlete Ally helps spread that message even further and I’m very excited to join the team.”
Reid knew of her sexuality from a young age but said she protected it for ‘a long time’ because she thought she had to in order to help her career and get more sponsors.
“There are a lot of male-dominated sponsors that are looking for certain types of players, so that’s why I have felt I can’t be quite as open as I would like to be when it comes to my personal life,” she continued.
“Then I started to wonder why these companies would want to sponsor me and have me represent them if I can’t be my authentic self.
“There is only one of you in the world and you have one life, so be the best version of yourself and be proud of who you are. That’s when you attract the right people around you to make you better, and ultimately, happier.”
Twelve-time Grand Slam tennis champion Billie-Jean King was among those who paid tribute to Reid for telling her story.