Tennis great, Margaret Court has doubled-down on her outdated and problematic views, this time aiming at transgender athletes during another fierce sermon at a Perth church.
According to media reports, during the sermon delivered last Sunday, Court again went where Tennis Australia would prefer her not go by condemning trans athletes at the Pentecostal church where she is a minister.
Court, 77, successfully battled for the 50th anniversary of her Grand Slam to be marked by Tennis Australia at the Australian Open next month. However, the governing body was significantly torn over the commemoration of its greatest player, whose opposition to homosexuality has drawn wide criticism including from tennis legends, Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova.
During the controversial sermon, Court openly discussed her concern for transgender youth and the future of women’s sport:
“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 said.
“It’s so wrong at that age because a lot of things are planted in this thought realm at that age, and they start to question ‘what am I?’.
“And you know with that LGBT, they’ll wish they never put the T on the end of it because, particularly in women’s sports, they’re going to have so many problems.
“And you have got young people taking hormones and having changes, by the time they are 17 they are thinking, ‘Now I’m a boy and really I was a girl’.
“Because, you know what, God’s made us that way.”
Court also reiterated that being gay was “a choice” and said that just because she didn’t agree with people, didn’t mean she hated them.
“I don’t hate anybody,” she said.
The 24-time Grand Slam winner’s comments have received a mixed-bag of support and anger, with Australian political activist, Lyle Shelton tweeting that Court’s views were “not controversial but mainstream”.
“Millions share her concern for women’s sport. Parents are worried about radical gender-fluid indoctrination of their children. Yet the left viciously attacks Margaret for speaking the truth,” he wrote.
“The battle for truth and freedom of speech should not be borne by this courageous woman alone. Where are our political, religious and other civil society leaders? Have we surrendered to rainbow lies about biology and the human condition? Is courage dead in Australia?”
However, Sydney Morning Herald senior writer Jessica Irvine disagreed with Court’s words and was quick to note the dangers of idolising sports figures – especially when their behaviour is dangerously separated from their achievements.
“Hopefully in the next decade we’ll have left these views behind,” Irving told Today.
“It’s just so disappointing.
“Australians want to celebrate our sporting heroes, and she’s amazing. But can we separate the views she has that I believe are unacceptable to the Australian people and celebrate her sporting wins? I don’t think you can separate the two.”
Tennis Australia openly condemned Court’s views earlier in November and made it clear in an open letter they are not welcome in the sport.
Court won the award for ‘Homophobic Comment of the Year’ at the 2018 GLORIAs (Gay & Lesbian Outrageous, Ridiculous and Ignorant comment Awards) in Sydney.
Among her claims are: that homosexuality is an unholy “lust for the flesh”, insisted that LGBTIQ tendencies in young people were “all the devil”, likened gay people to Hitler and claimed that older lesbian tennis players had turned younger players gay.
In an interview with Vision Christian Radio, Court alleged that lesbianism had trickled down to the younger players and mentioned that homosexuality could be “overcome”.
“Tennis is full of lesbians. Even when I was playing there were only a couple there but those couple that led took young ones into parties,” Court said. “And what you get at the top is often what you’ll get right through that sport.”
“We’re there to help them overcome. We’re not against the people.”