Celebrating Pride Month: Tim Gaccione
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.
Tennis has been a part of Tim Gaccione’s life for well over a decade and says that the LGBTQ+ community has been more than welcoming.
When did you first start playing tennis?
I first started playing tennis in 6th grade.
What do you love most about the sport?
The amazing feeling when you hit a good shot or play an epic point, that you genuinely feel would be a competitive shot at any level. Also, I love the team atmosphere. When playing in a league or tennis on campus and feeling the healthy, competitive spirit the sport brings.
What impact has the LGBTQ+ community had on you?
A great impact, the tennis community is very accepting. It would be great to find a partner to fall in love with, however it is not as easy to find a compatible partner as I would hope it to be.
How did the sport welcome you after coming out?
During my time working at the USTA National Campus, I co-chaired the Partners Business Resource Group and assisted with planning events for the first US Open Pride event at the 2019 Fans week.
How does tennis help you connect with the LGBTQ+ community?
I think tennis is generally an open and safe sport to feel comfortable being out. There are thousands of people in our communities that are struggling to accept themselves. I am here to tell you that the tennis world will welcome you with open and loving arms.
What advice do you have for members of the LGBTQ+ community about getting involved in tennis?
Don’t overthink anything and just join a tennis team or a league. We are at a time where if someone is homophobic, that is definitely that person’s issue and not yours.
What would you tell someone in the LGBTQ+ community who is hesitant to come out?
Life is so much better being able to be yourself. Life is too short to keep our true selves hidden away. If you are afraid that your loved ones will not accept you, most of the time it’s a better situation than we think.
Naturally, we punish our minds into always thinking about the worst-case scenario, but we need to be kinder to ourselves. If you lose a friend, then it’s that person’s insecurity and you are better off without that person in your life. Surround yourself with people that love you.
What does Pride mean to you?
Being yourself and being proud of it without regret. No apologies for who we are and accepting others.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Tennis is a wonderful sport and it’s waiting for you.
For more information on how you can support, participate in, or find tennis play opportunities for the LGBTQ+ community in Florida, visit USTAFlorida.com/Diversity.
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