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Wishing a very happy 62nd birthday to the tennis legend and LGBT icon Martina Navratilova!

The marvelous Martina Navratilova turns 62 today.

To mark the occasion, I’m re-posting an interview Martina did at the 2015 Australian Open with one of my big crushes, retired Australian tennis star Todd Woodbridge who is still such a cutie patootie.

Todd asked Martina what her most legendary achievement outside of her tennis wins is and I absolutely love her answer: “My being out as a gay woman. I came out as an atlete when I was at the height of my career in 1981 – way before it was an okay thing to do. I (was) criticized for it then, I was an outcast. And now, I’m lauded for it. So it’s kind of funny how things have come full circle.”

She added: ” … By being out, I have helped a lot of people deal with their sexual orientation and I’ve gotten letters over the years from men and women saying I saved their life – literally. They were ready to call it a day because they thought they were the only one out there. Then they saw me on TV or read an article. This is from the days when the word homosexuality was hardly ever mentioned and when it was it was in a negative way.”

“That is something I didn’t think I was doing, I didn’t know I was doing but that’s pretty special.”

Folks, this lady is a hero.

On a personal note, when I was growing up in the 80s and thought being gay was the worst thing in the world and something I could never tell anyone about, there was Martina living out and proud and letting us all know that it was possible. Not only was she out but also was the world’s number one tennis player. The lesson was that you can be true to yourself and thrive in every way.

Thanks forever for that, Martina.

FILE UNDER: Birthdays

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