Tasmanian lesbian launches court challenge to discrimination laws

Tasmanian Jessica Hoyle has started a fundraising campaign to launch a High Court challenge to Tasmania’s anti-discrimination laws.

Launceston based Hoyle wanted to run a series of events for lesbians including drag king shows, drag king bingo and karaoke nights, but wanted to stipulate that any who born male was excluded from attending.

In 2021 she applied to have an exemption from Tasmania’s anti-discrimination laws but was knocked back, with the state’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Sarah Bolt ruling that Hoyle’s application sought to go further than exemptions granted in other states by “requiring people to provide intimate information about their body to gain access to the proposed events”.

Speaking to The Mercury newspaper Hoyle said she wanted to recreate the ‘golden era of lesbianism’.

“I’m a homosexual woman who wants to meet other women, not men with penises,” Hoyle said.

“When I first came out of the closet as a girl, it was the golden era of lesbianism, we had our own spaces, dance nights for females.

“But all of the sudden they’ve disappeared. I don’t understand it. We are sick of having our rights erased.”

In a 2021 video from the Women’s Declaration International Hoyle shares that she has founded an organisation called LGB Tasmania that is opposed to “gender ideology’.

Hoyle has already taken her case to The Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and is awaiting it’s finding, but says if she is unsuccessful she will take her case to the High Court.

Equality Tasmania has expressed concern about the proposed High Court case, saying it could set a precedent that would disadvantage many Tasmanians at risk of discrimination.

Equality Tasmania spokesperson, Dr Lucy Mercer Mapstone, said Hoyle’s views did not reflect the majority of Tasmania’s LGBTIQA+ community.

“As a queer, cisgender woman, I know the overwhelming majority of Tasmanian queer, lesbian and bisexual women support equality for transgender women and oppose attempts to exclude them.”

“Trans women are women. To say otherwise is inaccurate and distinctly anti-feminist.”

“Lesbian, queer, and bisexual women still face significant discrimination in the workplace and at school, and picking a fight within our own community causes unnecessary divisions over non-existent problems and diminishes our capacity to address real discrimination.”

“Of great concern is that Jessica Hoyle’s proposed High Court appeal seeks to water down protections for trans and gender diverse Tasmanians in the state Anti-Discrimination Act which is the strongest anti-discrimination law in Australia.”

“If Ms Hoyle succeeds it would set a dangerous precedent that would disadvantage not just LGBTIQA+ Tasmanians but all Tasmanians at risk of discrimination.”

Dr Mercer-Mapstone said the Tasmanian LGBTIQA+ community has come a long way in recent decades thanks to its capacity to work together as an accepting and inclusive community.

“Attempts to divide us threaten the progress we have all made, but I strongly believe such attempts will fail.”

OIP Staff


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