World famous tennis player and openly out athlete, Billie Jean King, suggested that instead of boycotting the Winter Olympics, the LGBT community and allies should use the event as an opportunity to take action.
King, who was appointed by President Obama to represent the United States in the delegation for the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, told CNN, “Maybe we should wave rainbow flags or something, I don’t know.” She added, “As long as we’re not being malicious…we can show our feelings.”
Ever since Russian President Vladimir Putin outlawed “gay propaganda,” the Olympics have stirred controversy across the world, as many find the anti-gay legislation to be a blatant violation of human rights.
Scores of activists, several countries, political leaders, and even some sponsors have suggested boycotting the event. This year will mark the first in a decade that neither the current United States president, First Lady, or any former US presidents will not attend the Olympics.
However, openly gay King will be there. “I’m very proud to go as an athlete, and as a gay woman,” King said. “I’m thrilled.”
“I’m not real big on boycotting…It has to be absolutely a last resort,” she said. “I think it’s more important to go and be there, and be involved, and be committed to trying to help change—and trying to let people also know if you’re gay that you’re not alone.”
Obama’s decision to send King and two other out representatives in the delegation suggests some message to President Putin and the world, one which demonstrates the value America places on diversity.