Aussie tennis great Margaret Court has turned heads with her controversial church sermon this week in which she targeted transgender children and athletes.
The 77-year-old may have made a name for herself for her incredible sporting talent but this week she’s made headlines for another reason.
On Sunday, Court was delivering a sermon at the Victory of Life Centre in Perth when she told worshippers that LGBT lessons in schools were “of the devil”, Nine News reports.
The tennis player claimed children choosing to change genders is wrong and said they should look at the Book of Genesis before making any decisions.
“It’s so wrong at that age because a lot of things are planted in this thought realm at that age,” she said according to Nine News. “And they start to question ‘What am I?’ and if you are a Christian … you believe the word of God, this is our TV guide to life …”
Court added: “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.”
The tennis great’s comments come just weeks before she is to be honoured by Tennis Australia at the 50th anniversary of her grand slam during the Australian Open. Tennis Australia has invited Court to attend the 2020 event but has made it clear they do not agree with her personal views.
In recent years she has remained outspokenly opposed to gay marriage on religious grounds. When gay marriage was legalised following a plebiscite in 2017, Court was chastised for her belief that marriage should solely be a union between a man and a woman.
In the lead up to the legalisation Court claimed transgender children are the product of bullying and parents who “don’t care”. She went on to claim that transgender children are influenced by the devil, and compared it to Hitler and Communism.
The 77-year-old, who previously attended the Open at Melbourne Park every January, has not returned to the tournament since. However, in November Court called on Tennis Australia to extend the same respect to her as they showed fellow grand slam winner Rod Laver earlier this year, who won all four major titles the year before Court, back in 1969.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, she said: “I think Tennis Australia should sit and talk with me. They have never phoned me. Nobody has spoken to me directly about it. I think they would rather not confront it.”
The former world number one added: “They brought Rod in from America. If they think I’m just going to turn up, I don’t think that is right. I think I should be invited. I would hope they would pay my way to come like they paid for his, and honour me. If they are not going to do that, I don’t really want to come.”