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We celebrated the historic achievements of girls and women in LGBTQ sports in March

Every day in March, Outsports marked Women’s History Month by highlighting the contributions of out female-identified LGBTQ athletes.

Painting of girls and women by Krystal Quiles.
Girlhood (it’s complicated) commemorates the anniversary of woman suffrage by exploring the concept of girlhood in the United States, but also how girls changed history in politics, education, work, health, sport and fashion.
Krystal Quiles, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History

March was Women’s History Month, and on every day of the month, Outsports celebrated the vital role of women in LGBTQ sports by highlighting the individual and team achievements of women and girls.

Our definition includes every aspect of female identification and sexual orientation: gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, pansexual, polysexual, asexual and more. There is no one way to be a woman, and all women are worthy of celebration.

Nationwide, this observation of Women’s History Month got underway at the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, each commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of women in American history.

One example of that is the art work by Krystal Quiles, “Girlhood (It’s complicated).” one of more than 200 objects in a Smithsonian exhibition spanning a timeframe of more than 200 years, examining the ways American girls have spoken up, challenged expectations and been on the frontlines of change in politics, education, work, health, and fashion.

As a sports site that focuses on the LGBTQ community, our focus of course is on athletes, coaches and athletic personnel who make a difference in their sport, and display the spirit embodied by our motto: Courage Is Contagious.

We began our month-long celebration with an excerpt from a tribute by our Cyd Zeigler to Billie Jean King.

1985 Virginia Slims Championship
Billie Jean King of the United States serves during a match at the Virginia Slims Championships circa 1985 at Madison Square Garden in the Manhattan borough of New York City.
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

I dare you to find someone who doesn’t love Billie Jean King.

The legendary tennis player, who has been a champion for women and LGBTQ people for decades, is — and I don’t use this term lightly — a national treasure.

Denver Post Archives
Billie Jean King, July 1973.
Denver Post via Getty Images

In the 1970s she fought for equal treatment of women in sports and won a massive victory in the Battle of the Sexes. Since the 1980s she has been an out-and-proud icon demanding equality for LGBTQ people. Today she isn’t just revered in the halls of tennis but also, with partner Ilana Kloss, is a part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, helping guide one of the most storied franchises in all of American pro sports toward inclusion.

Several years ago she was named part of one of the three most important moments in LGBTQ sports history. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987.

To be sure, King’s LGBTQ advocacy got a rocky start. King didn’t get to “come out” on her own terms, she was outed in a palimony suit by her former partner, Marilyn Barnett. Yet King did not reject the mantle of LGBTQ champion, proudly accepting her role as a sudden icon.

On the court, King was the queen of her time and one of the greatest tennis players in history. She won 12 women’s Grand Slam titles (seventh-most of all time), completing a career slam and winning the storied Wimbledon title six times. She added 27 doubles and mixed-doubles Grand Slam titles, making her the third-most decorated player in Grand Slam history.

Since then she has pushed for further equality for LGBTQ people, women and various under-served communities. In 2009 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2014 President Barack Obama named her to his Olympic delegation in an attempt to open international eyes to the presence and success of LGBTQ athletes.

She’s still at it, too. On Sunday, Feb. 28, King was on hand as the women of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association celebrated the first-ever women’s hockey game to be played at the iconic Madison Square Garden and to be nationally-televised.

If you’re not following Billie Jean King on Twitter, what on earth are you waiting for?

March 1: Read Cyd’s full tribute to Billie Jean King by clicking here

March 2: Katie Sowers

March 3: Yulimar Rojas

March 4: Caster Semenya

March 5: Monica Roberts

March 6: Demi Schuurs

March 7: Diana Nyad

March 8: Charlie Martin

March 9: Jill Ellis

March 10: Juniper Eastwood

March 11: Corinne Humphreys

March 12: Dr. Renee Richards

March 13: Alison Van Uytvanck and Greet Minnen

March 14: Sheryl Swoopes

March 15: Amanda Nunes

March 16: Amanda Sauer-Cook

March 17: Sharice Davids

March 18: JayCee Cooper

March 19: Alex Blackwell

March 20: Sue Bird

March 21: Megan Rapinoe

March 22: Nicola Adams

March 23: Caitlyn Jenner

March 24: Rebel Kinney

March 25: Veronica Ivy

March 26: Tiffany Abreu

March 27: Ruth Bader Ginsburg

March 28: Martina Navratilova

March 29: Natasha Cloud

March 30: Navi Huskey

March 31: CeCé Telfer