Australian tennis great Margaret Court hit out at transgender athletes on Sunday and branded the teaching of LGBT rights as “of the devil.”
The 77-year-old, who won a record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, made the comments while giving a sermon at her Victory Life Church in the Australian city of Perth.
Addressing the issue of trans athletes competing in male or female sports, the Christian pastor said: “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.”
She also claimed children as young as seven were beginning to change gender, adding: “It’s so wrong at that age because a lot of things are planted in this thought realm and they start to question, ‘what am I?’
“You know, even that LGBT in the schools, it’s of the devil, it’s not of God…”
Court is known as an opponent of gay unions and stated in the past that lesbianism on the women’s tour has a corrupting influence on young players, as Breitbart Sports reported.
Twelve-times grand slam champion Billie Jean King last year called for Court’s name stripped to be from the Australian Open showcourt in Melbourne because Court’s views on sexuality, including the claim that “tennis is full of lesbians”, are offensive to her.
Despite the backlash from modern players, Court does not resile from her opinions. In fact she doubled-down on her controversial views regarding sexuality during the sermon. She said:
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 made us that way.
Court also highlighted the difficulty of talking about her religious beliefs, claiming “the devil” controlled parts of the the media and government.
“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 said.
“I can go on television and if I say, ‘well, this is what the Bible says’, well, it’s like opening a can of worms. My goodness, you’ve let a torpedo off or something. No it’s true, because they hate the word of God.”
The 2020 Australian Open — where Court has been invited to attend as a special guest — commences Tuesday, January 14th in Melbourne.
AFP contributed to this story