EGLSF have followed the controversy surrounding the acknowledgement of Margaret Court’s tennis achievements.
Successful sportspeople are role models and to have them vilify entire communities, as Margaret Court has done to the LGBTQI+ community, is extremely damaging. Her comments make LGBTQI+ people unwelcome, and suggest they have fewer human rights – such as access to sport – or at best, presumably should only be allowed to participate if they hide who they are.
This is against everything the EGLSF stands for, LGBTIQ+ tennis players, fans and communities deserve better.
Tennis Australia is in a difficult position, and have handled the matter diplomatically by "recognising" rather than "celebrating" Court’s 1970 sweep of the Slams at the Australian Open, and in their hosting of the LGBTQI+ tennis Glam Slam tournament. But what does the difference between recognising and celebrating amount to when there is a sense of honouring an individual? And how can you separate a person’s achievements from the rest of their public profile? You don’t have to look far in the world of tennis and in other sports to find athletes who are shining examples of using their platform in a way that honours commitments to human rights and equality, and sports’ governing bodies should follow suit, refusing to let personalities such as Court present themselves as role models beyond their sporting achievements.
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