Tennis great Martina Navratilova has hit back at peer Margaret Court’s latest comments against LGBTIQ people, accusing her of “hiding behind her Bible” to be transphobic.
A legend of Australian tennis and now Pentecostal preacher, Court’s most recent attack on the community was a sermon condemning trans athletes and gender diverse children.
“The devil gets in and the media and the political, the education, TV – he wants to control a nation so he can affect people’s minds and mouths,” she told her Perth church on Sunday.
“They hate the word of God.”
Court referred to being gay as “a choice” and criticised trans women’s participation in sports.
“It’s of the devil, it’s not of God,” she said.
“And when children are making the decision at seven or eight years of age to change their sex… no, just read the first two chapters of Genesis, that’s all I say. Male and female.
“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.
“And you have got young people taking hormones and having changes, by the time they are 17 they are thinking, ‘Now I’m a boy and really I was a girl.’
“Because, you know what, God’s made us that way.”
Navratilova has taken to Twitter to respond to Court’s “bigotry”.
“It’s outrageous and so wrong,” Navratilova wrote.
“Margaret Court is hiding behind her Bible as many have done before her and will do after her.
“Let’s not keep elevating it.
“Shame on Margaret.”
Openly gay Navratilova came out in 1981 and married wife Julia Lemigova in 2014.
She has always been a vocal supporter of the LGBTIQ community.
After last year calling trans women competing in women’s sports unfair and “cheating”, she later acknowledged she had hurt people with her comments and said she had learned and developed greater sympathy for trans women, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
“What I have come to realise, the biggest thing for me, is just the level of difficulty trans people go through cannot be underestimated,” Navratilova said in the BBC documentary The Trans Women Athlete Dispute with Martina Navratilova.
“The fight for equality and recognition is just huge.”
Court has been criticised before for her comments against LGBTIQ people.
She became vocal during the marriage equality debate in 2017, threatening to boycott Qantas over its support and calling trans children “of the devil”.
Gay tennis icon Billie Jean King spoke out against her at the time.
“She says so many derogatory things about my community,” said King.
“I personally don’t think she should have her name [on Margaret Court Arena] any more.
“If you were talking about Indigenous people, Jews or any other people, I can’t imagine the public would want someone to have their name on something.”
Despite the controversy, Court is set to be honoured by Tennis Australia this month for her 50th Grand Slam anniversary.