Australian tennis legend Margaret Court needs to rethink her 'painful' comments on gay marriage and transgender issues says LGBT+ tournament Glam Slam organiser
The organiser of tennis's biggest LGBT+ tournament has called on legend Margaret Court to reconsider her 'painful' comments about gay marriage and transgender athletes.
The 24-time Grand Slam champion has come under fire recently after stating transgender children are 'not what God intended' and that she does not believe in gay marriage.
And Rowen D'Souza, who runs the LGBT+ tennis event 'Glam Slam', says the community has been hit by her words.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, she said: "Our community is sensitive because we have faced discrimination in the past and our community does suffer when people say things they do because it makes us feel that we're not wanted, we're not included.
"Sport should be about just including everybody. Margaret Court's comments do cause pain, but we're here to try and make sure that that pain is minimised and we give people a forum - a safe place, but also a place where they can thrive through sport.
But D'Souza hopes Court can amend her beliefs to project a more positive message through to those in the tennis community, particularly during the Australian Open, where the event will now 'recognise' rather than 'celebrate' her achievements.
"Often we make judgements of people based on what we see in the media or their social media profile," D'Souza said. "But in person, Mrs Court is a delightful person and it was really nice to have a chat and she listened attentively.
"And it's true, when she says she doesn't hate us - I believe that as well. Sportspeople should separate their personal lives with their sport lives.
"Sportspeople should be interested in increasing participation in their sport. And that's what we'd love Mrs Court to be able to do in the future. So the name should stay the same, but we'd really like more inclusivity messages from her as well."