Apparently there’s a kerfuffle happening in Australia over some comments by former tennis star Margaret Court.
From the Guardian:
“The former tennis champion Margaret Court has claimed “tennis is full of lesbians” following a row over remarks she made previously about gay marriage. She added that transgender children were the work of “the devil”.
Court’s earlier comments opposing same-sex marriage sparked furious debate about whether the show court named in her honour at Melbourne Park should be changed. However, she said that attempts to remove her name from it were “bullying”.”
I have mixed feelings about whether a building should be renamed because the honoree made offensive comments. I think a few years ago I would have agreed that the court should change its name to show its opposition to Court’s bigotry, but now I’m inclined to think that such a reaction would be overkill. After witnessing the increasing inability of anyone on the Left to tolerate discussion, questions or nuance, and to repress any speech that doesn’t meet current standards of ideological purity, I’m just totally fed up with trying to get people to stop saying certain things. There’s nothing like being a member of a group that’s been silenced to make you appreciate free speech.
It’s an odd feeling to have reached “peak left” when I still am actually on the left. I’m just on an imaginary left, one that is pro-woman and seeks to eliminate sex-based oppression as well as class-based oppression, and one that lives in reality and does the best it can to make practical, positive improvements for oppressed people. Sadly, that left doesn’t exist in the real world anymore, but a girl can dream, y’know?
I’m not entirely sure what the solution is to changing people with bigoted beliefs. Is making it impossible for them to speak and bullying them into silence really the way to do it? That often makes them shut up for a while, but all that hatred comes out of the woodwork eventually when they’re given a reason or an opportunity to express it. And sometimes, trying to bully someone just makes them more firm in their beliefs.
It would be nice if education, reasonable explanation, and rational debate could work on more people, but sadly, it works on very few. Especially those whose beliefs aren’t based on any substantial evidence or logic in the first place.
Margaret Court is quoted as saying the following:
“We know that homosexuality is a lust of the flesh, so is adultery, fornication, all those things … they too know this, this is why they want marriage, because it’s self-satisfying. I think they know it comes against Christianity, the beliefs of God, but in some way it’s justifying.”
“Everybody knows that it is wrong but they’re after our young ones, that’s what they are after”.
This is so baffling it’s actually sort of fascinating. I know those of you who were raised in any homophobic religious tradition have heard this sort of thing before, but I was not ever told that sinners were going to fry in hell during my childhood and I’ve long thought this religious stuff is very silly.
Her basic premise here is that homosexuality is “lust” and that makes it inherently wrong. I had to look up lust in the dictionary to make sure I wasn’t missing something, and indeed I wasn’t. It just means strong sexual desire. I actually have no idea what’s wrong with strong sexual desire…seems pretty normal to me? Many people of all sexual orientations experience sexual desire. In particular, heterosexual men are quite well-known for that quality. If sexual desire is a sin then isn’t heterosexuality a sin too? If God created us, then didn’t he create sexual desire on purpose to further the continuation of the species? This whole premise just makes no sense. I see no reason why lust would be considered a sin in the first place, so I see no reason why “it’s just lust” would be an argument against homosexuality.
I had to look up “fornication” too because this is not a commonly-used word outside of Bible-thumping communities. It means sexual intercourse outside of marriage. Once again, I have no idea what is wrong with that. If Court thinks that no one should have sex outside of marriage, then once again, she should be opposed to heterosexuality as well, since heterosexuals regularly have sex outside of marriage. And it’s a bit ironic that someone who thinks one should be married to have sex also opposes people getting married.
Then she says we want marriage because it’s “self-satisfying.” I don’t even know what she means by that. Marriage rights are important for many financial and legal reasons, like being able to access your partner’s health benefits and being able to visit them in a hospital room if they are ill. What is “self-satisfying” about it? Marriage is a commitment to another person, so it’s not about satisfying the self.
Then the bits about “everybody knows its wrong” and “they’re after our children,” like, whoa there. No, everybody doesn’t think love is wrong. When two people are in love and pledge their commitment to each other and care about each other and take care of each other every day and yes, also touch each other in intimate ways, that is beautiful and there is nothing wrong about it. I have no idea what could be wrong about any of that. And why do homophobic people always think we’re “after the children”? Like, “after them” for what reason? I’m guessing it’s either one of two things: they think we’re all child molesters, or they think that homosexuality is contagious and we’re trying to infect children with it. One group of people very highly likely to be child molesters is Catholic priests, and for some reason homophobic people ignore that and point the finger at us. Homosexuality is not the least bit contagious. Only around 5% of each generation is gay and we cannot increase that. (I know that about 1000% of young people today identify as “queer” but that is because queer is the new cool thing to call yourself, they’re not actually all gay.)
In some cases, if someone is promoting hatred against specific groups of people, and if there is a credible risk of real harm coming to them, then I think silencing them is appropriate, but here I do not. This woman is just an idiot whose views make no sense, and I know these views can be dangerous when held by people in positions of power, but as long as we have full equal rights under the law then people can say stupid shit and we can just roll our eyes.
I will continue to be the best person I can be and live my life as out lesbian so that I prove this sort of bullshit wrong every day.