Tennis legend Billie Jean King will be a 2018 NYC Pride March grand marshal.

You’re a grand marshal for NYC’s Pride March this year — what does that recognition mean to you?
It’s something I’ve wanted to do my whole life, but I have always been away at Wimbledon. This year, for the first time, I can be in the city for this event and I am so honored to be one of the grand marshals!

You have been a gay-rights activist for decades. Who are your LGBTQ heroes?
They are heroes and sheroes: Bayard Rustin, the mother of the LGBT civil-rights movement; Barbara Gittings; Karl Heinrich Ulrichs; Magnus Hirschfeld; Audre Lorde; Christine Jorgensen; the Daughters of Bilitis; the members of the Mattachine Society; the people who made the Stonewall Riots historic; Harvey Milk; RuPaul; and my friends Renée Richards, Kate Clinton, Urvashi Vaid and our ally Hudson Taylor. The more you know about history, the more you know about yourself. Go Google them all!

What message would you give to a gay teenager in a small, conservative town?
Make sure you are safe, believe in yourself, find allies who you can trust and when you are ready, come out and live your life on your own terms.

What’s your favorite scene in the recent biopic “Battle of the Sexes”?
There were two powerful scenes for me personally — crying in the locker room at the end of the movie and the scene with the first kiss between the Billie Jean and Marilyn characters. It was vital we included that scene in the movie. It was monumental for me, personally, and I hope it helped our community.

Any plans to tie the knot with your partner, Ilana Kloss?
We’ve been together 39 years this year and we have been discussing getting married, but I have felt married to her since day one. If and when we get married, we want [former NYC] Mayor David Dinkins to marry us.

Tell us all about your wardrobe of colored eyeglasses.
When I was young they told me I would never be No. 1 in the world in tennis because I wore glasses. My glasses are a big part of my identity — who I am and who I have become. I am always looking for a rainbow pair. Anyone have an idea where I can find them?

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