Stories of Pride Month Programs
The Nelson Knight Memorial Bluegrass Open is an annual, volunteer-run tennis tournament held at the University of Louisville as part of the Gay and Lesbian Tennis Alliance (GLTA) Tour over Memorial Day weekend. Held for over 20 years under various names, the event was recently renamed in honor of one of the tournament founders, Nelson Knight, who passed away unexpectedly in 2018. The event is very personal to us for this reason, but also because we are the only LGBT Tennis tournament in the state and we provide a safe and inclusive space for competition and comradery for our competitors. We attract over 100 players each year from all over the US and Canada and sometimes further. Last year we even had players from Australia. Men, women, straight, gay, bi and trans from all age groups participate side by side in genderless divisions..
Additionally, our members often travel to other GLTA events in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Detroit, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale and beyond. Our players love tennis ... playing and watching ... especially the WTA! But the greatest satisfaction our members get from participating is to donate the proceeds of our event to a local LGBT charity. Last year, we donated $4,500 to the University of Louisville’s LGBT Student Center.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our 2020 event was cancelled, much to our disappointment. But we are already planning our come back … bigger and better in May 2021. In the meantime, we are starting to see glimmers that some GLTA events may occur this fall and are planning to support our sister clubs should their events go on as planned!
Stonewall Sports, Raleigh, is very grateful for the ongoing support and sponsorship from the USTA Southern. We have been in existence since 2013 and have had tennis as one of our sports since 2017. Stonewall Sports is a welcoming and diverse community that values all members of the LGBTQ community as well as our allies. We offer participation in several sports (including tennis) and community events. We are a welcoming place where all our members are free to be themselves and contribute to the well-being and success of our community in North Carolina.
As is the case with many, we have been impacted by COVID-19 this year. In the best interest of the health and safety of our players, members, spectators, and families, our executive team made the difficult decision to cancel our 2020 tennis season and related in-person activities. We are offering several on-line activities and hope to resume with tennis when it is safe to gather again.
The Atlanta Team Tennis Association (ATTA) is a 501(c)(3) organization established in 1987 to promote and develop the growth of tennis in the Atlanta LGBT community. In 2005, ATTA became a USTA Community Tennis Association. ATTA hosts a variety of events for our members, including two annual tournaments, competitive singles and doubles ladders, weekly open play, social mixers and an annual end-of-year banquet. ATTA also assists members in creating and joining USTA and ALTA league teams. Many of our teams have been together for decades, establishing life-long friendships among teammates. While the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily halted our club’s activities, the friendships formed by ATTA members continue to sustain us until we meet again on the courts.
ATTA is also a member of the Gay and Lesbian Tennis Alliance (GLTA), which sanctions amateur tennis tournaments worldwide throughout the year. Since 1988, ATTA has hosted the Peach International Tennis Championships, featuring the largest draw in the southeast on the GLTA circuit. The Peach not only provides three days of competition for our members and local friends but also attracts players and guests from numerous other GLTA member clubs in other states and from countries around the world. Tournament participants compete for what has become one of the most coveted trophies on the GLTA tour – the glass Peach – while also connecting with members of the global LGBT community. Each year, ATTA donates the proceeds from The Peach to select local charities. In recent years, such charities have included Lost-N-Found Youth and Atlanta Youth Tennis & Education Foundation. As Atlanta progresses through a five-phase reopening plan, ATTA is hopeful that The Peach will take place in 2020 over the Labor Day weekend as it has for the past 32 years.