There are currently 1,000 men plying their golfing trade in professional tournaments worldwide, and the best guess is that very few of them are openly gay. In contrast, openly gay athletes abound in other sports, from Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas to global tennis superstar Martina Navratilova.
Until recently, however, golf’s LPGA Tour was an odd exception. It was a place where players hid their homosexuality, despite the fact that everyone knew. Partners traveled with the players; caddies knew; many fans knew; even the media knew. There was a kind of don’t-ask-don’t-tell atmosphere, where players worried about fan reaction and were told in nervous whispers that they might lose sponsors if they came out publicly.
That’s changed now, and the LPGA Tour is a better place because of it. And it’s all thanks to women like Reid, who’ve taken the big step of shedding their guises and telling the world that they are gay.
It’s a bold move that’s not without risk, but the reward is real. For Reid, it’s been a sense of belonging she never thought possible. It’s allowed her to understand that she is part of a larger community, and it’s one that has the support of the entire LPGA family. And that’s a powerful thing.