Australia Day honours should not go to someone like Margaret Court who spreads hatred and dangerous views about minority groups, says Susie O’Brien.
Australia Day honours should not go to someone like Margaret Court who spreads hatred and dangerous views about minority groups, says Susie O’Brien.

'Court’s toxic views don’t make her worthy of acclaim'

OPINION

Margaret Court's bigoted and offensive views off the court should prohibit us from honouring her contribution to Australian life.

This includes the Australia Day honours.

I am saddened that Court, who has previously been named an Officer of the order of Australia, is to be promoted to become a Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AC) next week.

The award is for "eminent achievement and merit of the highest degree in service to Australia or humanity at large".

It should not go to someone like Court who spreads hatred and division aimed at minority members of our population. This is offering no service to humanity at large.

How can we give this award to someone who thinks homosexuality is a sin and transgender athletes should choose between being male and female because "God made us that way"?

Or someone who thinks that LGBT children are "of the devil"?

Court believes in conversion therapy and thinks same-sex marriages are unhealthy and unnatural and "legitimise what God calls abominable sexual practices". She says young men in her church want other young men to stop being gay because they think it will "destroy their lives".

And yet accolades continue to be showered on her.

It's time for this to end. Court is already well recognised for her talents as a tennis player, but does not deserve continued public acclaim given her toxic, harmful views.

It is not possible to separate the player and the person. Court's views have currency because of her status as a well-known past tennis champion.

Rugby Australia took a stand and sacked Israel Folau, who holds similar views, and the sport is better off for it. Poorer, no doubt, but stronger in the long run.

Such retrograde and outdated views of homosexuality are dangerous. Not only do they wrongly position being gay as destructive, but they suggest it is a social construct that can be cured or chosen.

Back in 1990, Court said the life of gay tennis great Martina Navratilova had "gone astray" and that it was "very sad for children to be exposed to homosexuality".

In 2013 she wrote a letter to the West Australian newspaper expressing sadness that the baby of fellow tennis player Casey Dellacqua would be "deprived of its father".

And in 2017 she said tennis was "full of lesbians" even though she admitted there were "only a couple" there when she was playing. But she suggested those "at the top" influenced younger players and took them to parties. "And what you get at the top is often what you'll get right through that sport," she hinted darkly.

This is not someone who represents the open, accepting, inclusive and diverse Australia I love.

Originally published as Court's toxic views don't make her worthy of public acclaim


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