“My Dad Went Crazy”- Martina Navratilova Explained Her Parents’ Reaction to Her Sexuality Back in 1981

Published 04/01/2023, 11:45 AM EDT

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Martina Navratilova, the former world number one has won a staggering 59 Grand Slam titles across singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. In addition to her achievements on the court, Navratilova has also been a trailblazer for LGBTQ+ rights. In 1981, she became one of the first high-profile athletes to come out publicly. Her decision was met with both support and backlash.

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The tennis legend once opened up about her coming-out journey on a reality show, “I am a celebrity, Get me out of here.” She spoke candidly about the moment she told her parents about her sexuality. It was still a time when being gay was not widely accepted. Navratilova revealed that she was nervous about how her parents would react.

Martina Navratilova once shared her coming out story on a reality show

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In the YouTube video, Navratilova once shared, “I wasn’t gonna tell them but if they asked, I wasn’t gonna lie. So, when they asked, I said, and my dad went crazy. I wasn’t happy for a while, but we never stopped talking. He read some books on the subject. And realized that it wasn’t anything that I did or that he did or anything like that. He was cool with it.”

via Imago

Navratilova’s father eventually came around and accepted her for who she was, but her mother had a slightly different reaction. Navratilova acknowledged that her mother had a harder time with the situation than her father. Navratilova further added that was still grateful for her mother’s support.

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Navratilova’s decision to come out was a bold one, especially given the climate of the time. Despite the challenges she faced, Navratilova continued to be an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights throughout her career and beyond. She has often used her platform to raise awareness about LGBTQ+ issues.

The American came out as a lesbian when it was still taboo to do so in the public eye. Her courage and openness helped pave the way for other LGBTQ athletes and public figures to come out and live their lives authentically.

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Tennis Veteran Martina Navratilova Calls Out on World Rowing’s “Disgraceful Decision” Aimed At Increasing Transgender Participation in the Sport

Navratilova helped and supported her fellow tennis player, Billie Jean King

King once revealed that Navratilova needed encouragement to come out as gay. King had acknowledged that if Navratilova was comfortable with her sexuality, she should control the message and come out. Navratilova has been a role model for LGBTQ+ athletes and a champion of equality and inclusion for decades. Her courage, dedication, and unwavering commitment to her values have made her an icon both on and off the court.

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WATCH THIS STORY: 42-Year-Old Venus Williams Relishes the Best Impulsive Decision of Her Life That happened 16 Years Ago – ‘I Love Him Already.

With the support of her best friend and King, Navratilova mustered the strength to come out. She is now in a happy relationship with the Russian model and RHOM star, Julia Lemigova.

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Written by:

Dr Aditya Raveendran Menon

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Aditya Menon is a Tennis Author at EssentiallySports. He developed an unbridled love for tennis from the moment his father introduced him to the sport. Watching Roger Federer dominate the ATP tour with his unique and effortless style played a pivotal role in pushing Aditya to write about tennis for national publications.
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Edited by:

Aayush Kapoor

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