Margaret Court / Twitter
Australian tennis veteran Margaret Court has doubled down on her homophobia by attacking lesbian players and linking LGBT people with Nazism, sexual abuse and Satan.
Court recently made headlines when she stated that she’d boycott Australian airline Qantas “where possible” because of its public support for marriage equality.
Unrepentant, she’s gone on to cause another uproar with her comments about LGBT players in an interview with Vision Christian Radio.
“I mean, tennis is full of lesbians, because even when I was playing there was only a couple there, but those couple that led took young ones into parties and things,” she said.
“And you know,” she continued, “what you get at the top is often what you’ll get right through that sport.”
Court went on to repeat the long disproven belief that people become gay and lesbian because of abuse as children.
“They’re human beings and 92 percent, they say in America, have either been abused in some form sexually or emotionally at an early age for them to even be this way.”
She added: “We’re there to help them overcome. We’re not against the people”.
Court also offered her views on transgender children: “That’s all the devil… but that’s what Hitler did and that’s what communism did – got the mind of the children. And there’s a whole plot in our nation, and in the nations of the world to get the minds of the children.”
Navratilova described Court as close-minded and backward
In a statement, Anglican Archdeacon of the NSW Central Coast, the Venerable Rod Bower, insisted that “Court does not reflect the views of 95% of Australian Christians who, frankly, would be appalled at these comments”.
Just.equal spokesperson and long-time marriage equality advocate, Rodney Croome, called on more faith leaders to join Archdeacon Bower in repudiating Margaret Court’s comments. He went on to say that Court should not “play the victim” when there is a backlash to her strident views.
“Mrs Court has every right to hold her views but fair-minded Australians have an equal right to be critical of those views, to point out the damage they cause and to question their place in contemporary Australia,” said Croome.
Now an evangelical pastor, Court is a former world number one who played in the sixties and seventies and is still considered by many to be the greatest-ever female tennis player.
In 1990 she said that fellow tennis icon Martina Navratilova and other lesbian players were ruining tennis and setting a bad example for young players.
Court has also criticised same-sex marriage as being unnatural and proclaimed that homosexuality is “abominable” and violates the “God-given nature of what is right and what is wrong”.
Tennis Australia has distanced itself from Court’s comments as her personal views but has rejected calls for it to change the name of the Australian Open venue Margaret Court Arena.
In 2011, Navratilova described Court as close-minded and backward. “Her myopic view is truly frightening as well as damaging to the thousands of children already living in same gender families,” she said.