Billie Jean King, “No person should be discounted by their sexuality”

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Tennis.com features this interview with Billie Jean King, who was “outed” in 1981 by a former lover.  Here are some highlights/soundbites from the interview:

“No person should be discounted by their sexuality or any other reason. You just don’t do that to other human beings. We’re all human. And it’s very important we treat each other the way we want to be treated.”

“The LGBT community is very important to me. If I’ve helped in a very small way, I’m very happy about that.”

On the lack of “out” gay male players, “We need straight people, particularly in the male arena, to support the gay guys. They have to. And if they stand up for us, that’s how we gain acceptance. We need our friends, or brothers and sisters, especially if they have influence. Federer and Nadal and those guys have to say we don’t care. Once the influence starts to talk like that, it makes a huge difference.”

Without Billie Jean King, the entire landscape for women and girls in sports would be far less developed than it is today.  The cultural impact of her 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” against Bobby Riggs? Astounding.

-Bridget Crawford

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