Celebrating Pride Month: Camilo Espinel
In celebration of Pride Month, throughout June USTA Florida will recognize those in the LGBTQ+ community whose character and passion continue to embrace our message that tennis is for all – regardless of skill, age, race, or sexuality.
This month, USTA Florida is featuring players of the LGTBQ+ community who describe their experience in the sport, why Pride Month is important, and what it means to be proud of who they are.
When it comes to Camilo Espinel, he makes sure to embrace people for who they are and never judge a book by its cover. Espinel encourages people to get involved with tennis as it’s an extremely welcoming community.
When did you first start playing tennis?
Ten years ago, when I was 40 years old.
What do you love most about the sport?
What I love the most about the sport is the satisfaction I feel when I serve an Ace. Very few things in sports give one such a high.
What impact has the LGBTQ+ community had on you?
It has taught me to embrace people of all walks of life for who they are.
How did the sport welcome you after coming out?
My experience has been one of non-issue 100%.
How does tennis help you connect with the LGBTQ+ community?
I’ve made some amazing friends through the GLTA, I play on Sunday mornings with a local group here in Orlando and we have a blast. Also, traveling to GLTA tournaments has been a great way to support organizations that help our community.
What advice do you have for members of the LGBTQ+ community about getting involved in tennis?
Go for it!
What would you tell someone in the LGBTQ+ community who is hesitant to come out?
I would listen first and foremost. We all travel our lives at our own pace, our timeline through life is uniquely our own. I respect a person’s decision and wouldn’t pressure anyone into coming out or not. It is a personal issue in my opinion and when the time is right, it can only be decided by the individual. With that said, it is likely that the moment it happens will be very liberating for the person and be a catalyst for them achieving their life’s full potential.
What does Pride mean to you?
It is a symbol that reminds me to be grateful for the brave men and women who paved the way for me to be accepted in most walks of life.