Margaret Court (Photo: Neale Cousland / Shutterstock)
Australian tennis icon Margaret Court has slammed LGBT inclusion as being “of the devil” ahead of the commemoration of her historic Grand Slam victories.
Court, 77, who is now a Christian minister, told congregants at the Pentecostal Victory Life Centre in Perth on Sunday that the controversy sparked by her previous homophobic and transphobic statements was unfair.
“I can go on television and if I say: ‘This is what the Bible says’, well, it’s like opening a can of worms. You think: My goodness, you’d let a torpedo off or something. No, it’s true – because they hate the word of God,” she said.
“Even that LGBT in the schools — it’s of the devil, it’s not of God, and most Christians wouldn’t even know what it says within there (the Bible).”
Court also insisted that there are only two genders and claimed that efforts to teach children about gender inclusivity are evil.
“And you know when children are making the decision at seven or eight years of age to change their sex… No, just read the first two chapters of Genesis, that’s all I say: ‘Male and female’.”
Court went on to lash out at transgender athletes. “Do you know, with that LGBT they’ll wish they never put the ‘T’ on the end of it because particularly in women’s sport they’re going to have so many problems,” she said.
“And you’ve got young people taking hormones and having changes – by the time they’re 17 they think: ‘but now I’m a boy and really I was a girl’. Because you know what? God’s made us that way.”
Court has previously criticised same-sex marriage and lesbian tennis players and linked LGBT people with Nazism, sexual abuse and Satanism. She has been condemned by fellow tennis legends Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King who supported calls for the Margaret Court Arena at Melbourne Park – home of the Australian Open – to be renamed.
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. She has been invited to the Australian Open next month to mark the 50th anniversary of her winning all four Grand Slams in 1970.
In a recent statement about inviting Court to the tournament, Tennis Australia said that it “respects Margaret’s unmatched tennis career” but “does not agree with Margaret’s personal views, which have demeaned and hurt many in our community over a number of years. They do not align with our values of equality, diversity and inclusion.”
The organisation added: “Our sport welcomes everyone, no matter what gender, ability, race, religion or sexuality, and we will continue to actively promote inclusion initiatives widely at all levels of the sport.”