(AP)

After the United State's women's national team's victory over the Netherlands in the FIFA World Cup final, American player Kelley O'Hara made a public display of affection that resonated inside and outside the lines of the soccer field.

There's something almost unspeakably poignant about the fact that, between 1981 and 2019, not much has changed in terms of global cultures being taken aback, to one degree or another, by same-sex affection. (Seventy countries still consider homosexuality a criminal offense.)

King's quite-public plight in the 1980s was coupled, in a way, with Martina Navratilova's own experience related to legal and monetary wrangling with a former significant other. And yet, even half a decade earlier, Renee Richards engaged in her own groundbreaking off-court battle.

Richards's trailblazing experience—though quite different from others, and no matter whether she stands by it in its totality now—led to King and Navratilova's out-comings. And to Amelie Mauresmo and Abby Wambach and Kelley O'Hara and Megan Rapinoe and dozens of others.