The Gay and Lesbian Tennis Federation of the San Francisco Bay Area
 


Introduced to tennis by her parents, San Francisco resident Peg Stevenson quickly caught the bug herself. She played mixed doubles with her brother, was on her high school team, and played with other members of her family. Following high school, Peg took time off from tennis but got back into the sport in 2008 to get fit. At that time, she met a coach, Ken White, who introduced her to the Gay and Lesbian Tennis Federation (GLTF) league. A few years later, Peg ended up joining the GLTF Board. By joining the GLTF Board, Peg found a perfect way to get back into tennis and help her community. “I had forgotten how much fun tennis was,” Peg says with a laugh in her voice. “Joining GLTF instantly gave me a chance to meet and play with a ton of people so when I was asked to be on the Board I said yes without hesitation.” On top of being on the Board, Peg was the Women’s Director for five years. Her role was to grow membership and help organize the women’s league and social doubles or clinics. “The GLTF has a total of 500 members with 150 being women,” Peg explains, “so I help manage that part of the GLTF.” She is now the Communications Director for the GLTF and helps with all aspects of communications being sent out to the community regarding tournaments, leagues or social events. But Peg doesn’t stop there as she helped save the courts the GLTF calls home at San Francisco State University. “There was a proposal to turn the courts into a baseball field for the Giants Urban Youth Academy, but we were able to show the University’s administration and the Giants that these courts meant something for the community. Finally both agreed to look for an alternate site for the Giants Urban Youth Academy,” Peg says with huge relief. As if that wasn’t enough, Peg also agreed to help with the Golden Gate Park Tennis Center Renovation Project. “Martha Ehrenfeld, the Co-Chair of the San Francisco Tennis Coalition, asked me to join and I said yes because I love playing at Golden Gate Park,” Peg says with enthusiasm. “It is such an important place in the community that I was happy to join and help support it. No other city has a place like it with such a wonderful location and place.” One might wonder how Peg has time to do it all. “I enjoy the people I work with and the organization tremendously, and having a Chair who is so inclusive and fights for quality the way Winnie Fink does is inspiring,” Peg describes. “I’ve also appreciated being part of an organization where inclusion and fairness is part of its make-up on top of helping the gay and lesbian community however we can.” Peg’s dedication has paid off in so many ways from saving courts to helping a whole community feel included and accepted. Through her love of tennis, Peg has had an impact on her community that will last a lifetime. “To me, tennis means fun and a combination of asocial event and exercise, and GLTF has given me all that.” 



Originally from Waterbury, CT, Michael Derwin moved to San Francisco in 1995, he moved to Seattle between in 2004 but “came right back to San Francisco,” in 2008, Michael said in a previous interview. Michael joined the Gay and Lesbian Tennis Federation (GLTF) in the late 90’s, then joined the Board of the GLTF in 2011. As Michael mentioned during our interview, if you are a gay man in San Francisco, the main way to play tennis is through the GLTF. So, when he got injured in 2011, Michael saw a great opportunity to get involved in tennis in a different way by getting on the Board of the GLTF. “I was fascinated by all the volunteers who put on the tournaments and wanted to learn more about it,” Michael explained. “It really felt like I was on the brink of something new when I got on the Board, and it felt really good to be included.” Michael explained that even though San Francisco is very accepting of gays, the move to the city by the Bay was not that smooth. “It was tough moving to San Francisco because I didn’t know many people but through tennis and through GLTF, I instantly got to meet tons of people and felt a part of  something. Now I’m more comfortable than ever and it’s all through tennis!” Through his role as a Board member, Michael utilizes his strength as an engineer to help the GLTF eliminate papers. “God made me better at organizing things,” Michael jokes, “so I’m focusing on what I’m good at and using my background to analyze and organize things for the GLTF.” In Technology Sales at IBM, Michael helps find courts for events organized by the GLTF, helps generate interest and organize USTA leagues, and is also the Director for the United States Gay Open that takes place at Golden Gate Park. Founded 35 years ago, the GLTF acts as a Community Tennis Association (CTA) and puts on a total of 12 competitive and social events a year. “Our home courts are at SF State University but, because we are a community club, we don’t have permanent courts so one of my duties is to secure the courts for our events,” Michael said. Congratulations to Michael for finding himself in the game and thank you for your continued dedication to the game. “Tennis is integrated in my life, it gets me out and about and you get to meet amazing people,” Michael says with excitement. “But most importantly, tennis has given me so much more than a sport, it has given me a place to be myself, feel comfortable and through my work feel a sense of satisfaction.”


These profiles were originally published by USTA's Diversity and Inclusion Program.  See the others here: http://www.norcal.usta.com/diversity/spotlights/

             

© 2009 GLTF.  The Gay and Lesbian Tennis Federation of San Francisco is a non-profit organization
dedicated to providing our members with tennis opportunities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
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