Sporting greats enjoy a high profile in the minds of many Australians. While many use their high profile to promote worthwhile causes, it is particularly hurtful when a sporting great like Margaret Court uses her profile to spread bigotry and vilification of others.
I, for one, have had quite enough of “so-called Christians” behaving in a most un-Christ-like manner; using their religion as a weapon to incite gay hatred; betraying their lack of understanding by calling homosexuality a “lifestyle choice”. Worst and most damaging of all are “Pastors” like Margaret Court who run programs to “cure homosexuality”.
Being gay or lesbian is not a disease. It doesn’t need to be “cured”. What does need to be cured is the attitude of bigots. In Australia, these bigoted attitudes mean 30% of same-sex attracted teens will attempt suicide and acts of serious self-harm; more than twice the 14.5% of straight teens. And the pain doesn’t end with teenage years. Some have endured a lifetime of these attitudes…
Below is an open letter to Margaret Court posted on Facebook by Jane Waterton. I’m reproducing Jane’s beautifully-written, heartfelt letter here, with her permission, because it deserves a wider audience.
An Open Letter to Margaret Court
I am a Lesbian, who accepted that fact about myself nearly 40 years ago, at a time when Homosexuals were openly vilified by the greater community. Throughout my time living openly as a Lesbian, I have had friends murdered, raped and beaten, friends abused and humiliated, others who have lost their jobs and careers – all because of their sexuality. I have had friends who have lost access to, or custody of, their children due to homophobic family court attitudes at the time. I survived these years of my life relatively unscathed and have personally witnessed a huge change in public attitude, along with changes to the law and government policy, regarding Homosexuals.
After reading of your views about me once again, this time on the front page of Thursday’s West Australian, I really feel that I have had enough of the hatred and ridicule that you represent!
I accept that you are entitled to your views on same sex marriage – your opinions on this issue are your own view and do not bother me. However, I do not accept your persistent vilification of me – (Vilify: to lower in estimation or importance; to utter slanderous and abusive statements against - Merriam Webster Dictionary).
To place this issue in perspective, for just one moment substitute the word Black each time you use the word Homosexual (or Gay, or Lesbian). A really ugly thought isn’t it - not to mention the legal ramifications!
Why do you not focus your public profile and access to the media to address the truly abhorrent issues such as increasing incidences of child abuse, domestic violence and human trafficking/slavery in our society? Why not challenge and ridicule the anti-social/anti-marriage behaviour of high profile men in sport, business and politics - who, by the way, do far more damage to the institute of marriage than any loving Homosexual relationship ever could!
Why is my love for another woman, with whom I have shared a loving, stable, monogamous relationship for over 15 years, so important to you? Why do you describe me and my relationship as an abomination (Abomination - extreme disgust and hatred: loathing - Merriam Webster Dictionary).
Why have you chosen to champion dogma on homosexuality which was extracted from ancient literature written by pious, misguided old men thousands of years ago, whilst ignoring other writings by these same men – writings which include instructions on owning slaves, selling daughters into slavery and even stating that it is shameful for women to speak in the church!
You state that you find my lifestyle offensive and the bible calls it an abomination. Well, frankly Margaret, I find your comments offensive in the extreme. I have weathered these types of comments for many years, so they don’t manage to hurt me as much anymore. However, have you given any thought to the young men and woman who, by your comments, have been made to feel even more isolated and confused than they may already be - young people who are already constantly dealing with the difficulties and self doubts that society imposes on Homosexual people.
If living our lives honestly and openly was actually harming people, if it was affecting other people’s lives in a negative way, I might understand your vitriol – (Vitriol: cruel and bitter criticism). However, the fact of the matter is that it doesn’t. We are the ones being harmed by your persistent attacks in the media. We are the ones who are told we cannot marry, we are the ones who constantly have to fight for the right to LOVE (remember that word Margaret?) whoever we choose.
Because you are offended by our lifestyle, you believe that you have a religious mission to air your views, regardless of the effect it has on others. How un-Christian!
If our lifestyle is so offensive to you Margaret, may I suggest that you stop focusing on us! I know it will make me feel better not to hear of you again.
Leonora Western Australia
I’ve had enough; Jane has had enough; you’ve had enough; what can we do?
- “Like” the Facebook page Rainbow Flags Over Margaret Court Arena.
- Wear rainbow colours to the Australian Open this week.
- Celebrate Australia Day on Jan 26 by unfurling rainbow flags at Margaret Court Arena.
- Sign the petition to Tennis Australia: Change the name of the Margaret Court Arena.
While it has been encouraging to see Tennis Australia’s press release distancing itself from Ms Court’s views, more is required. Demand that Tennis Australia withdraw their implicit support of Ms Court’s media campaign against homosexuals.