Trailblazing activist and athlete Billie Jean King has long been a champion for social change, spearheading the women’s movement in her sport and cementing her legacy as a lifelong advocate for LGBTQ equality.
One of the most defining moments of King’s career is now in theaters. “Battle of the Sexes,” starring Emma Stone as King, tells the story of her legendary match with Bobby Riggs. The film’s release comes on the heels of the 44th anniversary of the famous “Battle of the Sexes” tennis tournament, which captivated the nation and sparked a national conversation on gender roles in America. It solidified King’s status as a barrier-breaking tennis pro and a pioneer in the women’s movement.
King became one of the first openly lesbian major sports figures in America when she was outed in 1981. Following her professional tennis career, King became the first woman commissioner in professional sports when she co-founded World TeamTennis. The U.S. Tennis Association named the National Tennis Center, where the U.S. Open is played, the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in 2006. She is also the founder of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2009.
King is a longtime HRC supporter and received the National Equality Award at our 10th annual National Dinner. We are proud to call her a longtime member of the HRC family.