Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. (September 5, 2008)

Hard to believe it’s been 35 years since the infamous “battle of the sexes” tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King. Yeah, yeah, I know a lot of you haven’t even been here 35 years. Trust me, it was A Big Deal.

Photo: Jerry Cooke, Sports Illustrated

In conjunction with the anniversary of the 1973 match – which she won in straight sets 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 – comes a new book from King, Pressure is a Privilege: Lessons I’ve Learned from Life and the Battle of the Sexes.

Using her victory over Riggs as a backdrop, King talks about events in her life that led up to the match – and the many things that have happened since. She highlighted these lessons in a Morning Edition interview with NPR’s Renee Montagne last week. C-SPAN’s Book TV devoted an episode to Pressure is a Privilege, featuring a half-hour interview with King.

King was outed in 1981 by an ex-lover, losing about $2 million in endorsements as a result. In 1998, she finally came out publicly and became the first out lesbian Olympic coach in 2000. Evidence of just how far she’s come personally is that the one of the book’s dedications is to King’s life partner, Ilana Kloss, who “gives me the strength and support to keep living the dream.”

King with Ilana Kloss

Pressure is a Privilege is a quick read and a great way to get to know a true feminist hero who also happens to be a lesbian. And honestly, how many people can you say that about?

— by the linster

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