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Bille Jean King has some words of wisdom at the GLAAD screening of “Battle of the Sexes”

Boy Culture blogger Matthew Rettenmund attended a screening of Battle of the Sexes the other night that included a post-movie Q&A with Billie Jean King. The movie, of course, is about BJK’s famous 1973 match against 1939 Wimbledon champion Bobby Riggs and also chronicles King’s role in launching the professional women’s tennis tour.

Here are a few excerpts from the Q&A:

On Bobby Riggs: “I was always friendly with Bobby. You have to understand the reason I beat him — I love history, and he was one of my heroes. And that’s why I beat him: I knew all about him, he knew nothing about me. But, you know, dominant groups know very little about subdominant groups and subdominant groups know a lot about dominant groups. Think about it. Who’s in power, whoever’s in power, does not notice other people very much. They just, they’re into themselves. Non-dominant groups have to know how to navigate what this culture’s created for us.”

On homophobe Margaret Court, the tennis great who was King’s greatest on-court rival in the 1960s and 70s: “We always get along, but we talk in a very superficial way … We’re all arguing, but we’re not arguing face-to-face, we’re arguing through the media … But she has this church, and they do some great work — they feed hungry people, they do all kinds of things. But when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community, she can’t handle it. And she came out talking about the children of transgenders, for instance, are from the devil, and that did it for me. Do not hurt my community.”

On pro athletes coming out publicly: “Now it’s just so much better, when a woman or a male comes out and they’re gay in sports? Everyboy celebrates it, presidents call them. Look at Jason Collins. He comes out — he’s an NBA player — President Obama calls him, Hey, dude, way to go … I remember losing all my endorsements overnight. It took 20 years to get back. It’s just so much better today. I’m so happy. But that’s what we were fighting for.”

FILE UNDER: Movies, Tennis


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