US footballer Megan Rapinoe (L), British diver Tom Daley (Middle) and tennis great Billie Jean King (R) are all prominent queer icons in sports
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Pride Month: Queer people in sports
(Philstar.com) - June 19, 2019 - 12:35pm

MANILA, Philippines — Pride Month is in full-swing, and what better way to celebrate than getting to know queer people who have found success in the world of sports.

As diversity in sports increases, queer athletes are slowly but surely making their way toward acceptance and equality in the field.

Here's a list of queer sports personalities who have already made a mark in their respective sports.

1. Billie Jean King

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Exude confidence. Believe in yourself. And go for it. ???????????? . ????: Globe Photos #throwbackthursday

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Tennis player Billie Jean King was a former World No. 1 and has won a long list of titles that prove her success.

Considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time, King had initially married world team tennis founder Larry King in 1965 but had a falling out.

It wasn't until 1981 when King was forcefully outed following a palimony suit by her former partner Marilyn Barnett.

King would go on to lose most of her sponsorships and contracts after coming out.

But since then, King has made her way back into the tennis scene and is now in a relationship with fellow tennis player and queer icon Martina Navratilova.

2. Thomas Hitzlsperger

Retired German football player Thomas Hitzlsperger is the most prominent gay football player.

Hitzlsperger played for a series of Premier League clubs in the length of his career.

He was also tapped for the German national team 52 times and was part of a squad that finished third in the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Hitzlsperger retired in 2013 and came out as gay shortly after.

3. Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Waterfalling all over again?????????? @sbird10 Ankles to @alikrieger ????

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Two of the biggest names in women's sports in America are #CoupleGoals.

Footballer Megan Rapinoe and WNBA star Sue Bird have been dating since fall of 2016.

Rapinoe was part of the national team that brought the World Cup title to the United States in 2015.

Meanwhile, Bird is a three-time WNBA champion with the Seattle Storm and an 11-time WNBA All-Star.

Rapinoe had come out as gay in 2012 while Bird announced her sexuality and relationship with the footballer in 2017.

4. Tom Daley

British diver Tom Daley is one of the most decorated athletes in the sport.

Hauling a total of 11 golds, four silvers and three bronzes so far, the 25-year-old athlete still has a long career ahead of him.

Daley released a YouTube video back in December 2013 where he revealed that he was in a relationship with a man.

While Daley has yet to put a label on his orientation, Daley says he still has sexual feelings for both males and females.

Daley is currently married to American screenwriter, director and producer Dustin Lance Black.

They tied the knot in 2017 and now have a child through surrogacy.

5. Meghan Duggan and Gillian Apps

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The most incredible day of my entire life ?? (????: @elizabethladuca)

A post shared by Meghan Duggan (@mduggan10) on

They say that opposites attract, and these two Hockey players can attest to that.

Meghan Duggan and Gillian Apps are fierce rivals in the world of women's hockey.

Duggan plays for the US national team while Apps suited up for the Canadian squad.

Despite a long and storied rivalry between their squads, Duggan and Apps got married in September 2018, seven months after Duggan and the US beat Canada in the Winter Olympics.

6. Jason Collins

Former NBA player Jason Collins made history as the first openly gay athlete to play in any of the four major North American pro sports leagues.

Collins played a significant role in the New Jersey Nets' first-ever NBA Finals berth, against the Los Angeles Lakers in 2002.

While Collins began his career in 2001, Collins didn't come out as gay until the end of the 2012-2013 NBA season.

In April 2014, he found himself on the cover of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World.

7. Orlando Cruz

Puerto Rican Orlando Cruz became the first boxer to come out as gay.

Cruz made his sexuality public in 2012 and is still active in the boxing scene.

In 2016, Cruz dedicated his lightweight boxing championship to the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting, which claimed 49 lives of LGBTs and allies.

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