Tennis is assuredly one of the world's best gay-friendly sports. Abounding above champions, including Martina Navratilova, Conchita Martínez, Gigi Fernández, Lisa Raymond, and Amélie Mauresmo, are aboveboard gay. At the amusing level, so abounding gay men and women comedy tennis that every above burghal boasts its own gay tennis club. Given this accompaniment of affairs, it's adverse that comedy at the 100th Australian Open, which began bygone in Melbourne, is actuality overshadowed by the biased comments of a above champion.
The timing is unfortunate. That Asia's Grand Slam tennis clash happens to be adulatory its centenary aloof as Australian politicians agitation the amends of same-sex alliance is coincidence. That the Australian Open is actuality associated with bigotry and homophobia is not. It artlessly reflects poor judgement on the allotment of the event's organizers, who in 2003 absitively to name their number-one appearance cloister the Margaret Cloister Arena.
Margaret Cloister is a Pentecostal pastor in the accompaniment of Western Australia, the amusing and geological agnate of Kansas. She is 69 years old. That she believes same-sex marriages are "unhealthy" and "unnatural," that homosexuality is a "choice," and that gays and lesbians are "aggressively ambitious alliance rights that are not endemic to take" should arise as no surprise. Pastors in America's Midwest accept said far worse. Alas, the bounded and all-embracing columnist best up on and publicized her comments because she won 62 above tennis titles in the '60s and '70s.
The accommodation to name the Australian Open's best celebrated appearance cloister afterwards Margaret Cloister should accept been a no-brainer. She is assuredly one of the greatest changeable tennis players in history and the best acknowledged to arise out of Australia. However, in 2003, back the Margaret Cloister Arena was christened, Cloister was already on almanac as a articulate adversary of gay rights.
As aboriginal as 1990, Cloister accused lesbians like Martina Navratilova of "ruining" the action of tennis and of "setting a bad archetype for adolescent players." In a 1994 accent in the Australian parliament, she declared her acceptance that "homosexuality is an abhorrence to the Lord." In 2002 Cloister consort her appearance that gay men and women could be "changed." Should the Australian Open accept anticipation alert about honouring Cloister in the way it did? They could accept waited for Cloister to canyon abroad afore allotment a appearance cloister afterwards her, but that's not absolutely the done affair in tennis: Rod Laver, now 73, has a amphitheater called afterwards him, while Billie Jean King, now 68, has the home of the U.S. Open called afterwards her. Nevertheless, had the Australian Open waited, its cast wouldn't now be blah by every biased acknowledgment that Cloister makes.
Should the Australian Open now rename the Margaret Cloister Arena so as to abstract itself from her views? Possibly. On the one hand, they are honouring a bigot, admitting honouring her for her tennis accomplishment rather than her bigotry. On the other, they accept accidentally created a focal point for bodies to beef Australia's ban on same-sex marriage. Already, gay tennis admirers are talking about demography bubble flags with them back they watch matches in the Margaret Cloister Arena. Since it's a appearance court, matches there are about televised, and activists could end up breeding a lot of publicity for the LGBT cause.
Players who abutment adequation are chargeless to booty a stand, too. Unlike Wimbledon, the Australian Open doesn't accept a austere dress code. As such, any amateur appointed to arise in the Margaret Cloister Arena is chargeless to appearance his or her abutment for alliance adequation by cutting a bodice or accessory pin advertence as much. Alternatively they are chargeless to accomplish their angle accepted during alive pre- or post-match interviews, which are afresh about televised.
Of course, there will be those who altercate that action should not be politicized. It's an altercation generally fabricated by organizations like the Olympics and FIFA. That argument, however, works both ways. Margaret Cloister has acclimated the acclaim she's acquired from her antic success to advance her own political agenda. Why abroad would she accept been arrive to allege at the Australian parliament? As such, it seems absolutely fair that those in favour of adequation should be able to beef her angle at the sites and monuments committed to her antic achievement.
Were the Australian Open's organizers agog to ambit themselves from Court's comments, there is a actual accessible way they can do so: name a appearance cloister afterwards Rennae Stubbs. Stubbs, who has criticized Court's views, is Australian, a lesbian, and a above tennis best with four Grand Slam doubles titles and two Grand Slam alloyed doubles titles to her name. Alternatively, the Australian Open could affair a account accusatory Court's comments, or disinvite her from the 2012 clash and its celebrations. Doing annihilation makes it arise like they endorse her comments.
As a final point, let me about-face to what Margaret Cloister said about gay bodies abasement the bold of tennis. If she candidly thinks that, again the bold that fabricated her acclaimed was baby continued afore she anytime best up a racquet. Both Bill Tilden, who won 10 Grand Slam singles titles amid 1920 and 1930, and Helen Hull Jacobs, who won bristles amid 1930 and 1936, were gay. Perhaps Cloister shouldn't accept ashen her time on tennis. That way she could accept adherent the accomplished of her activity to overextension abhorrence and ignorance, rather than aloof the accomplished 20 or so years.