Out tennis champion Martina Navratilova has blasted tennis legend Margaret Court as a “homophobe” and called for her name to be removed from the arena named after her.
But transgender Australian of the Year winner Cate McGregor has said such a move would be a mistake.
Following her recent Qantas boycott, Margaret Court gave an interview with a Christian radio station this week in which she likened “gay lobbyists” to Nazis using mind control, claimed transgender people were influenced by the devil, and said tennis is “full of lesbians”.
In an open letter published by Fairfax Media, Navratilova said: “We celebrate free speech, but that doesn’t mean it is free of consequences – not punishment, but consequences.
“Her vitriol is not just an opinion. She is actively trying to keep LGBT people from getting equal rights (note to Court: we are human beings, too). She is demonising trans kids and trans adults everywhere.
“And now, linking LGBT to Nazis, communists, the devil? This is not OK. This is in fact sick and it is dangerous.”
Navratilova wrote in the open letter that she believes the Margaret Court Arena should be renamed after 14-time Grand Slam winner Evonne Goolagong.
Court hit back in a second interview on Christian radio, denying she was homophobic and that the LGBTI community “can do what they want to do. I’ve got nothing against them. Just don’t touch the definition in a Bible marriage.”
Transgender Australian Defence Force Cate McGregor disagreed with calls to rename Margaret Court Arena, telling the ABC that Court’s comments were “gratuitous unsubstantiated nonsense” but said that it is a “mistake for the LGBTI community to pile on to her” with the name change because it “rendered her a victim”.
McGregor said she respected Court’s achievements and said “airbrushing her out of sporting history” by renaming the arena was wrong but she was disgusted by Court’s brand of fundamentalist Christianity.
“I would have thought talking about the LGBTI community in respect of grooming children is pretty poor taste coming from a Christian clergy woman in the current climate,” she told ABC’s The Drum.
“This woman has to look at her conscience and live with her remarks and ask herself as a Christian when she examines her conscience, has she dealt with us lovingly?
“To think I arrived at my life decision without a process of agonising discernment is a gratuitously offensive thing to say to me when she has no experience of my life and my parental background.
“I would ask her to think heavily and examine her conscience about the impact these remarks have on a very small minority of Australians whose lives are difficult enough without this kind of stuff.
“We can just be visible and proud and not break under this and live our lives authentically.
“We’ve got to be better than she is, that’s the crazy double standard, we’ve got to show dignity when she’s not required to.”
— ABC The Drum (@ABCthedrum) June 1, 2017