Union County, NJ – Union County, NJ –The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is proud to present the inaugural Union County LGBTQ History Month event, featuring a screening of the 2017 Billie Jean King biographical film ‘Battle of the Sexes’ followed by a discussion about women’s rights and equality in the 70’s and today with NJ equality advocates and civil rights activists.
The event, free and open to the public, will be held on Tuesday, October 23 at 6:30 P.M. at Hamilton Stage (360 Hamilton Street, Rahway). The event is free but pre-registration is requested online at ucnj.org/lgbtq or by calling 908-527-4742.
“The Freeholder Board is proud to host the first Union County LGBTQ History Month event, recognizing LGBTQ history, and the history of equal rights and related civil rights movements,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados. “The Battle of the Sexes story of equality icon Billie Jean King is a powerful reminder that the task of progress is never finished, and each generation must renew the fight against discrimination and oppression to ensure equality and respect for all.”
Billie Jean King was an athlete first. Quickly, she became a champion, many times over. The first woman to defeat a former male Wimbledon champion in the 1973 Battle of the Sexes extravaganza – off the court Billy Jean King is a champion of racial justice, LGBTQ equality and women’s rights.
For her contributions to the advancement of women’s sports, Life magazine named Billie Jean King one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century.” A tennis champion and advocate for gender equality in sports, King has become an icon and a legend.
“The Battle of the Sexes film succeeds in calling attention to the women’s equality and LGBTQ civil rights issues of 45 years ago that are unfortunately still relevant today,” said Freeholder Alexander Mirabella, liaison to the Union County LGBTQ Ad Hoc Committee.
Those expecting a straightforward sports movie may be surprised by its intimacy, as it draws a parallel between the weight of having to prove the worth of all female athletes in that one match, and the distress of hiding a secret affair with her female hairdresser from both her husband Larry and the world.
In a 2017 interview on the Today show, Billie Jean King reflected on the themes of the movie and how they are relevant today noting, “There are so many battles that have to be won again and again. Coretta Scott King talked about how freedom is never really won, how every generation has to earn it and win it again and again. It’s the same with equality. I think we’re right in the middle again.”
The 2018 LGBTQ History month event is sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and organized by the Union County Department of Human Services’ Office of LGBTQ Services and the Office on Women.
Established as part of Chairman Granados’ 2018 Moving Union County Forward initiatives, the Office of LGBTQ Services, under the Division of Outreach and Advocacy in the Department of Human Services, is the first County government office of its kind in the State of New Jersey – and one of four government offices in the nation to support the LGBTQ community, of which only two are county government offices. Union County’s Office of LGBTQ Services offers a platform for leadership and collaboration to support equality, and serves as a catalyst for advocacy, awareness and action on current and emerging issues that impact the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals.
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