The Prague-born tennis pro, who came out as bisexual in 1981, is credited with having “expanded the dialogue on issues of gender and sexuality in sports,” according to ESPN. “Martina was the first legitimate superstar who literally came out while she was a superstar,” Donna Lopiano, executive director of the Women’s Sports Foundation, said. “She exploded the barrier by putting it on the table. She basically said this part of my life doesn’t have anything to do with me as a tennis player.
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Billie Jean King
Unfortunately, the tennis pro’s 1981 outing was not her choice; she was forced out when her former female lover sued her for palimony and nearly lost all of her commercial endorsements as a result. But her career was far from over, and in 2000, she became the first open lesbian ever to coach an Olympic team.