Australian tennis legend Margaret Court is facing backlash for comments she has made criticizing the LGBT community.
Court, who is now a pastor in Australia, recently penned an essay for an Australian newspaper in which she threatened to boycott Qantas airlines because its CEO supports same-sex marriage.
“I believe in marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible,” the 74-year-old wrote in The West Australian. “Your statement leaves me no other option but to use other airlines where possible for my extensive traveling.”
On Monday, Court spoke with 20Twenty Vision Christian Radio and said, “tennis is full of lesbians” who “took young ones into parties.” She continued on to compare transgender identity to Hitler and communism.
“You can think, ‘Oh, I’m a boy,’ and it will affect your emotions and feelings and everything else,” Court says. “So, that’s all the devil — that’s what Hitler did and that’s what communism did: got the mind of the children. It’s a whole plot in our nation, and in the nations of the world, to get the minds of the children.”
Martina Navratilova wrote an open letter published on Thursday to Margaret Court Arena, a venue that frequently hosts matches during the Australian Open, calling for it to be renamed.
Navratilova notes that Court has a history of making homophobic and racist remarks.
“When you were named after Margaret Court, it seemed like the right thing to do. After all, Rod Laver already had the big stadium and Court is one of the all-time greats,” Navratilova wrote in the letter published in the Sydney Morning Herald. “I had long ago forgiven Court for her headline-grabbing comments in 1990 when she said I was a bad role model because I was a lesbian.”
Navratilova also accused Court of making racist comments in the ’70s about the apartheid in South Africa.
“Saying that South Africa dealt with the “situation” (meaning people of color) much better than anywhere else in the world, particularly the US: what exactly did she mean by that?” Navratilova writes.
“It is now clear exactly who Court is: an amazing tennis player, and … a homophobe. 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 demonizing trans kids and trans adults everywhere,” Navratilova continues.
Court played tennis from 1960-1977 and won 24 Grand Slam singles titles. All together she has earned 62 major titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles.