By Toby Halligan
As the 2020 Australian Open moves into its second week, LGBTIQ+ tennis fans who want to get out of the stands and onto the court are being urged to register for one of the world’s biggest LGBTIQ+ tennis tournaments, the Glam Slam.
The tournament, launched yesterday by Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tilley and Victorian Minister for Equality Martin Foley, is the only LGBTIQ+ tennis event run concurrently at the same venue as a Grand Slam.
Now in its third year, it has attracted more than 200 players from 35 countries. Fans are encouraged to come out and show support.
During the launch Minister Foley confirmed that the iconic ‘Melbourne’ sign on Court 3 would be transformed into rainbow colours for the tournament’s finals.
The tournament is “a signal to the entire community that we are accepted and welcomed by the Australian Open and Tennis Australia,” said Glam Slam Tournament Director, Rowen D’Souza.
D’Souza explained that encouraging diversity in sport is important for the welfare of all members of the community and that everyone should “feel welcomed and encouraged to participate”.
Diversity was on D’Souza’s mind when he recently met controversial tennis icon, Margaret Court. D’Souza said Court was welcome at the Glam Slam, despite her homophobic views.
“Approaching Margaret Court and having a chat was my coming out to her, revealing who I was and what I stood for. We have a personal journey of acceptance with our sexuality and those around us go through that journey when we come out to them,” said D’Souza.
“Margaret Court is welcome at the Glam Slam as part of her journey in life and hopefully to acceptance.”
D’Souza says that Court’s achievements in tennis helped build the acceptance of women’s sport and contributed to diversity in tennis, and that “Margaret Court has an opportunity to contribute further to tennis participation and diversity by joining with us for the good of the sport and the community”.
While he hasn’t officially invited Court to attend the Glam Slam he “remains open to the idea”.
The Glam Slam will run from Thursday the 30th of January to Sunday the 2nd of February. Registrations and event information can be found here.