words are all i have


Ol’ Maggie Court’s crazy ramblings a reminder that the LGBT collective still has plenty of work to do

Margaret Court says tennis “is full of lesbians.” As if that’s a bad thing.

patti dawn swansson

Moreover, ol’ Maggie informs us that there were a couple of devil lesbians on the professional tennis circuit back in her day and, get this, they would take young players to parties. Imagine that. Young women partying. With lesbians. The horrors.

Ol’ Maggie has been saying a whole lot of oddball things lately and, if we are to believe the preacher lady from the Land of Oz, civilization is caught in the grip of a global plot orchestrated by the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender collective. Those pesky gays are stealing the minds of our children, don’t you know?

“That’s what Hitler did, that’s what communism did—got the mind of children,” she advises us. “And it’s a whole plot in our nation and in the nations of the world to get the minds of the children.”

Hmmm. Kind of reminds me of what the Roman Catholic Church tried to do to me when I was a sprig.

The nuns, when not whacking us on the knuckles with a yardstick, would regale us with far-out tales of fantasy gardens, poisonous fruit, hell fires, voodoo antics like turning the rib of a man into a woman and, best of all, talking snakes in a magical tree. Their stories were better than anything we watched on The Wonderful World of Disney. But apparently Margaret Court believes all the Bible-based, brainwashing blarney that my receptive mind was force-fed, and it’s quite clear that the great Australian tennis champion is convinced that gay and (especially) transgender people are the spawn of Satan.

“That’s all the devil,” she says of transgender kids.

Ol’ Maggie Court

Poor, ol’ Maggie. There’s just no escaping conniving gay men and (especially) lesbians. We’re always shoving ourselves in her face, so to speak. Why, it’s gotten so bad that she can’t even travel hither and yon on Qantas anymore because the airline’s CEO, Alan Joyce, is a gay man who, not surprisingly, promotes same-sex marriage, which is, in the world according to Maggie, “alternative, unhealthy, unnatural.” The right to wed is “not theirs to take.”

“I believe marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible,” she harrumphs.

Well, it’s about your Bible, Maggie: One person’s truth is another’s fiction.

The prune-faced preacher lady has been battered fore and aft for her Bible-thumping bleatings, which included a disapproving and extremely tacky tsk-tsking of Aussie tennis pro Casey Dellacqua and her partner Amanda Judd following the birth of the lesbian couple’s second child, a joyous event that Court greeted with “sadness” because the newborn has two mamas and zero papas.

I’d rather not join the Maggie-bashing chorus, though, because I think she’s unwittingly done the gay community a small favor.

The hell, you say. How can that be so?

Well, to be clear, I find her drawing a parallel between the LGBT collective and a mass murderer, Adolph Hitler, repugnant. It is not only offensive in the extreme, it shows she clearly has lost both the plot and the argument. She appears to be totally off her nut. But…I also think ol’ Maggie has provided us with a reminder, albeit appalling—at the top of Pride Month, no less—that we still have work to do. The fight for acceptance and equality continues. It has not been won. We must keep society’s feet to the fire.

I suppose we really shouldn’t care what comes out of this nutter’s mouth, but Court is a legendary sportswoman. No one has matched her two dozen tennis Grand Slam singles titles. One of the playing venues at the Australian Open in Melbourne is named in her honor (for now). And she is a pastor (the argument could be made that she’s more of a cult leader given that she created her own church, the Victory Life Centre in Perth). Thus, her voice carries some degree of heft. If not, the pushback from gay, transgender and, indeed, straight people against her homo/transphobic tripe wouldn’t be so robust.

I’ll just say this about that: Freedom of speech is a beautiful thing, but so is the freedom to shut the hell up. Ol’ Maggie might want to give that a try.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m stepping out to party with some lesbian tennis players.


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I can take a trans joke, but I can’t take really, really bad comedy

Apparently, my knickers ought to be in a knot these days.

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patti dawn swansson

After all, that mean and nasty Ricky Gervais unholstered his acerbic wit and aimed his boozy-breathed humor at transgender people during the Golden Globe gala on Sunday night in Tinseltown.

The nerve.

I mean, did Gervais not receive the memo from the politically correct police? Thou shalt not poke fun at trans individuals, fictional or otherwise, and thou shalt never, ever, ever, ever—under any circumstances—take the name Caitlyn Jenner in vain. She is transgender deity, don’t you know. The High Priestess in the Cult of Cait.

So where does Gervais get off going off on Jenner?

“I’ve changed,” the British comedian said at the outset of his opening monologue as host of the annual trinket-giveaway that salutes the best of both the big and small screens in the entertainment galaxy. “Not as much as Bruce Jenner, obviously. Now Caitlyn Jenner, of course. What a year she’s had. She became a role model for trans people everywhere, showing great bravery in breaking down barriers and destroying stereotypes. She didn’t do a lot for women drivers, but you can’t have everything, can you?”

For this, a mighty squawk has arisen and all manner of scorn has been heaped upon Gervais. He’s been branded a bigot and, of course, transphobic.

But wait.

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Ricky Gervais

It wasn’t transphobic at all. If anything, it was sexist. It leaned on wearisome, dog-eared stereotyping that women are complete klutzes when in command of an automobile. It was also extremely insensitive, in that it referenced the fatal traffic accident that the still-Bruce Jenner caused on the Pacific Coast Highway. The joke fell flatter than day-old beer not because it was aimed at trans diva Jenner, but, rather, because fatal traffic accidents aren’t funny.

Gervais’ next knee-slapper targeted Jeffrey Tambor, who plays patriarch-cum-matriarch Maura Pfefferman on the TV show Transparent.

“What an actor, what a role,” mocked Gervais. “Every day, he has to put on all that women’s clothes and the hair and makeup and let people film it. That takes balls. So, I don’t know how he does it. I really don’t. I’ve seen his balls. They are huge and long. I don’t know how he tucked them in the bra, that thing push them out the back and let them hang out, like a bulldog. No one knows.”

Yup, another real side-splitter. Totally unfunny. But, again, not transphobic. Just remarkably juvenile, sophomoric and frat-boy feable from a highly decorated comic now looking for lazy laughs.

Gervais’ final foray into the transgender mine field was his introduction of Eddie Redmayne.

“Our next presenter,” he said, “is an actress both beautiful and talented. Born in England, she came to America and has taken Hollywood by storm. The star of the nominated movie, The Danish Girl—it’s a dude.”

Gervais then stared awkwardly at Redmayne, who is very much male and plays the role of real-life transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl.

Referring to anyone as “it” is hopelessly distasteful and, in this instance, decidedly transphobic and utterly unfunny.

But most of what Gervais delivered at the Globes gala was unfunny. Seriously. He’s cracking wise about pedophilic priests? That isn’t funny because child molestation isn’t funny. And using Roman Polanski as a punch line is as outdated as the women-can’t-drive schtick.

Clearly, Gervais needs new material, but if I’m going to get my knickers in a knot over a boozed-up Brit’s lame attempts at lazy laughs, it’ll be for the right reasons, and I’m not about to permit the politically correct police to dictate what offends me.

Do I enjoy someone having sport with the T-troop? Not if it’s mean-spirited and said with malice, because I live the everyday hardships, challenges, ridicule and put-downs. But the “it” word aside, I found nothing that Gervais said wince-worthy vis-a-vis the transgender community. It was just stupid. Like much of the fierce fallout on the internet.

So you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t join the braying transgender chorus that would have Gervais tarred, feathered and disemboweled. I can take a joke, and from my perch his only real crime was being a really, really bad comedian.