Tennis nice Margaret Court insisted Tuesday she wouldn’t give again a excessive-profile Australian honour after a backlash over her views on the LGBTQ neighborhood, claiming she “loves” homosexual and transgender individuals. The 78-year-outdated, the all-time report holder for Grand Slam titles who’s now a church pastor, was elevated to a Companion of the Order of Australia on the nation’s nationwide day Tuesday. But information of the award — Australia’s highest honour — noticed Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews slam her “disgraceful” and “hurtful” opinions.
And revered broadcaster Kerry O’Brien rejected his Australia Day gong in protest on the “insensitive” resolution to honour Court, whereas LGBTQ advocate Dr Clara Tuck Meng Soo stated she would hand again the medal she obtained in 2016.
Court has attracted controversy over her stance on sexuality and assist of homosexual conversion remedy, drawing condemnation for saying “tennis is full of lesbians” and describing transgender kids as “the work of the devil”.
She enraged fellow tennis greats together with Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova when she introduced a boycott of nationwide airline Qantas for its CEO’s assist of similar-intercourse marriage, which Australia launched in 2017.
“No,” Court stated, when requested on Melbourne radio station 3AW if she would return the award.
“Because I beloved representing my nation. When I bought my AO (Officer of the Order of Australia) it was for my neighborhood outreach space, the place we put out 75 tonnes of meals every week.
“This was for my tennis and I think it was a long time coming and I’m very honoured… We did nothing but play for our nation.”
Court, considered one of solely 5 gamers to win all 4 Majors in the identical yr, refused to be drawn on Andrews’ stance, whereas claiming her earlier feedback had been misrepresented by the media.
“I don’t hate anybody, I love people and I love gay people and transgender people. We get them into our community services, we never turn anybody away,” she stated.
“I could be bullied, I’ve been bullied quite a bit in the previous couple of years and I don’t thoughts, that’s all proper.
“But if I say anything, then I’m a bigot and I’m everything else and I don’t like that and I think the press has caused a lot of that.”
Court’s report of 24 Grand Slam singles titles has stood since 1973. Serena Williams, one behind on 23, will make her newest try and equal Court at subsequent month’s Australian Open.
Court stated she wouldn’t be heading to Melbourne Park this yr, the place one of many present courts is called after her.
“No, I wasn’t invited,” she stated. “With coronavirus, we’ve been so busy with our community work. I haven’t even thought about it.”
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