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Billie Jean King Talks Coming Out and Tennis for Upcoming PBS Special

Billie Jean King Talks Coming Out and Tennis for Upcoming PBS Special

Iconic tennis player, Billie Jean King, spoke at the PBS TCA panel this week for her upcoming American Masters special. 

King is the first sports figure to be profiled in the series. The documentary will focus on her career, the sexism she experienced in the sports world and how that introduced her to feminism.

At the panel, King spoke frankly about her legendary tennis match with Bobby Riggs in 1973. She also spoke about coming out in 1981 because she was essentially outed due to a lawsuit filed by her ex-partner.

The essence was I was outed, and at that time, I was still trying to find myself. My poor parents are homophobic. I grew up homophobic, so you can imagine
this challenge. I didn’t get comfortable in my own skin until I was 51 about being gay.

She also spoke about what feminism means to her.

It means choice; it means equality for boys and girls. That’s what it means to me. The guys loved it, because I always included them. I still do.

King mentioned that she spoke to Riggs the night before he died and he admitted regarding their match in 1973 that the pair “really did make a difference, didn’t we?” Yes they did.  

King’s American Masters special airs on PBS on September 10th.   Here’s a link to the trailer.

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