LPGA’s Mel Reid announces she’s gay, wants to be ‘authentic self’
Mel Reid, in her third year on the LPGA Tour, announced Monday her new role as an Athlete Ally Pro Ambassador and publicly came out as gay in a Q&A with the site.
Athlete Ally advocates for LGBTQ inclusion and equality in sports through education, policy and rights.
“I wanted to be part of Athlete Ally because I feel it’s important for people to be themselves,” the 31-year-old Reid said. “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.”
Reid is a six-time Ladies European Tour champion. Billie Jean King, who was honored by the organization in October, shared her support for Reid shortly after the announcement.
Reid said looking back she knew she was gay from a young age and is lucky to have a supportive family. She said she’s experienced few issues on the tour, the main “that being gay is still illegal or frowned upon in certain countries we play in.”
“There are also 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 added.
Reid, a native of England, said she kept her sexuality quiet for a long time to “help my career and get more sponsors.” She was conscious of what terms she used to introduce her girlfriend depending on the environment.
Reid questioned that decision and said the advice she would give to young LGBTQ athletes is to be one’s “authentic self” no matter the situation.
“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,” she said. “That’s when you attract the right people around you to make you better, and ultimately, happier.”
Reid told the organization she’d like to see more women in business support the sport and have more equipment companies show women in stores and in ads to make the sport more inclusive and represented.