Icelandic post-rock band, Sigur Rós, have come up with a brilliant response to Australia‘s Margaret Court homophobic comments by having a special T-shirt made for their Australia gigs later this month.
The T-shirt was designed by Andrew Rae, a London based artist, and features both a male and female couple depicted on a coat of arms, along with wedding wings, gum nuts, mushrooms and Eucalyptus leaves. “As long as some people still think they have the right to decide who other people fall in love with, then there’s still work to be done,” Rae said.
The design also sports the Icelandic and Australian flags and the words “Sameinuð stöndum vér” which is the Icelandic version of “United we stand (divided we fall)” – a phrase that was prominently used during Icelanders’ fight for independence. Also, for the longest time, this phrase was written in masculine form “Sameinaðir stöndum vér” – as is common in the Icelandic language – but in recent years, activists have pointed out that the verbs in the phrase should be written in neutral form, to include all genders; so even that little bit is a shout-out to equality and a nod to past fights for rights as well as an encouragement for sticking together to banish prejudice and hatred from the world.
Margaret Court, a former world No 1 in tennis, is now a Christian minister in Perth, Australia, and made the world news in May when she condemned Quantas for supporting same-sex marriage, declaring she would boycott the Australian airline. Court then made further homophobic comments in the media which caused outrage, stating e.g. that same-sex marriage was causing huge problems in countries where it was legalised, that homosexuality was an ungodly “lust for the flesh” and that LGBT tendencies in young people were “all the devil”.
Sigur Rós are going to be playing three gigs in Australia later this month, thereof one at the Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne, named so after the tennis legend although a huge group of Australians have demanded the stadium to be renamed after Court‘s homophobic rants.
“We want to add our voice to the call for marriage equality in Australia … Australia should be a country that celebrates positivity and inclusion, as well as achievement on the sporting field.”
“We know Margaret Court’s opinions are not shared by the majority of Australians. We want to add our voice to the call for marriage equality in Australia —right here on Margaret Court Arena itself. Australia should be a country that celebrates positivity and inclusion, as well as achievement on the sporting field,” reads a statement from Sigur Rós.
A bill to allow same-sex marriage was rejected by the Senate in Australia last November, after passing in the House of Representatives with 76 votes against 67.
Sigur Rós’ full statement:
DEAR MELBOURNE & AUSTRALIA,
Since we formed Sigur Rós some twenty years ago, we have been lucky enough to visit Australia seven times. We’re very much looking forward to our eighth visit this July.
We are currently in the middle of our worldwide tour, playing more than 130 shows and visiting 39 countries. Along the way we have played some of the world’s finest venues, and we’re finishing with a residence at the Harpa Concert Hall in our home town of Reykjavík, Iceland at the end of this year.
Our next Melbourne show is set to take place on July 27th at Margaret Court Arena. Our fans and friends have made us aware of recent comments by Margaret Court regarding her opposition to Qantas’s support of same-sex marriage in Australia, and her wider views on race and sexuality.
Iceland is a country where same-sex partnerships have been recognised since 1996, and where same-sex couples have enjoyed the same adoption rights as straight couples since 2006. Same sex marriages were unanimously approved in our parliament in 2010 (our then prime minister, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, was the world’s first openly gay PM, and one of the very first Icelanders to be married under this legislation). We are also happy to say that since 2008 the Church of Iceland, and all other religions, were officially granted permission to bless same-sex unions.
We know Margaret Court’s opinions are not shared by the majority of Australians. We want to add our voice to the call for marriage equality in Australia —right here on Margaret Court Arena itself. Australia should be a country that celebrates positivity and inclusion, as well as achievement on the sporting field.
“We know Margaret Court’s opinions are not shared by the majority of Australians. We want to add our voice to the call for marriage equality in Australia —right here on Margaret Court Arena itself.”
We’ve decided to commission a special tee-shirt for this Melbourne show, which we’ll also sell at our Sydney show and at Splendour in the Grass, proceeds from which will go towards support of Australian marriage equality.
Let’s make July 27th Margaret Court arena’s most inclusive night ever and call for every Australian to have the same dignity and respect right here on centre court.
Main photo: José Goulao.