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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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and there isn’t a gay soul to be seen

I’m a sucker for Christmas movies. I watched two more yesterday, which brings my tally for this holiday season to about two dozen.

santa patti

patti dawn swansson

Yes, I’m overdosing on ho, ho, ho and I’m full of fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la. Some, of course, might suggest that I’m full of something else, but don’t be an old grumpy-pants. It is, after all, the season to be jolly.

Anyway, although the faces are (mostly) different and the places (mostly) change, there are common themes to each of these movies. To wit:

  • Pretty girl from a one-horse town meets hunky boy from the big city. Or vice-versa.
  • One of them is a Grinch who says bah, humbug to Christmas and all its trappings (usually due to the death of a loved one or the breakup of a relationship during the festive season), and the other can’t get enough tinsel, bright lights, cookies and egg nog.
  • They are complete opposites, one a workaholic and the other forever stopping to smell the coffee.
  • The sourpuss of the two eventually experiences an epiphanical moment and discovers the true meaning of Christmas, which has nothing to do with crass commercialism and everything to do with family and/or the nativity scene.
  • They, naturally, fall in love after considerable time denying and fighting off their true feelings, then have a spat/rift over a deep, dark secret that really is a silly misunderstanding. They kiss, make up and head to the altar. They have babies and all live happily after. The end. Next movie, please.

Sure, it’s sappy stuff, but I fall for it every time, hook, line and Santa.

It occurred to me yesterday, however, that there’s something missing from all of these warm-and-fuzzy, flicks—gay men and lesbians.

These Christmas feel-good films feature old people, young people and middle-age people of varying skin hues and physical definitions. There are Catholics and Protestants and Jews and Muslims and Baptists and Buddhists and the odd atheist tossed into the blender. There are the filthy rich and the painfully poor. Some of the characters have powerful, high-paying jobs, others are stay-at-home moms or volunteers. There are creeps and crooks who spend the night in jail. But there are no gays. Not once in two dozen yuletide films have I seen a gay character. Or heard mention of a gay character.

What, gay people don’t do Christmas? We don’t fall in love? We don’t have families? We don’t have jobs? We don’t live happily ever after?

Well, I have it on reasonably good authority that LGBT people do all of the above, yet it has somehow excaped the notice of Christmas film-makers both north and south of the U.S.-Canada border. It is an astonishing omission. I mean, come on. Two dozen movies and not one gay man or lesbian?

Remind me again what century this is.