In celebration of Pride Month, throughout June USTA Florida recognizes all of those in the LGBTQ+ community whose talents and dedication help to grow the great game of tennis every day — at every level. We applaud them all for making tennis a better and more inclusive sport, and for making the face of our game more accurately reflect the dynamic diversity of our country.
David Chen of Fort Lauderdale was born in Taiwan and came to the U.S. when he was 10 years old. He’s an active member of the South Florida Tennis Club and he regularly participates in GLTA (Gay and Lesbian Tennis Alliance) tennis tournaments across the globe.
How does tennis help you connect with the LGBTQ+ community?
I’m a flight attendant so I travel around the world. Luckily through tennis, I’ve been able to meet local tennis players in the LGBTQ+ tennis clubs across the country and abroad. It’s always nice to connect with people who also have a mutual, healthy interest.
What is it like to be involved with an LGBTQ+ tennis organization?
It’s always wonderful to feel a sense of belonging with any community. Being involved with a LGBTQ+ tennis organization helped me find many of my best friends who understand and accept me for me.
What are some of your favorite LGBTQ+ community tennis events and what do you enjoy the most about them?
My favorite tennis events are the GLTA tennis tournaments in the U.S. and around the world. We have over 70 tournaments in 30 different countries. One of our biggest GLTA tournaments is held in Fort Lauderdale, the Clay Court Classics. We had over 300 players from 30 countries a couple of years ago. These events are a great way to meet people from all over the world.
For those who may not know, what are some LGBTQ+ play opportunities for people in Florida?
There are several LGBTQ+ tennis clubs in Florida. The biggest one is the SFTC in Fort Lauderdale. We have a club ladder, team tennis, USTA League teams, Friday night and Sunday social round robins. We welcome players of all levels.
How has the sport welcomed you? What do you love most about it?
Over the last 20 years I’ve lived in Los Angeles, Detroit, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Dallas, and Fort Lauderdale. I’ve been lucky to meet many friendly tennis players that have shown me around the cities, and in time, many of those same players have become my family.
What advice do you have for members of the Pride community about getting involved in tennis?
What I always try to do is to have fun on the tennis court – even in competitive matches. I would advise everyone not to take matches too seriously. We’re not playing for money or as a career – so just enjoy the sport! Don’t be afraid to ask different players to play, because the more players you meet, the better chance you’ll have of finding a community of special friends.
What is your message of positivity when it comes to the AAPI community and the Pride community?
The tennis world does not care about your race, gender, age or sexual orientation. Tennis is a great way to stay healthy, make new friends, and we’re all here to have a good time and support each other.
USTA Florida believes tennis is for everyone. 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.