A Tasmania-based lesbian woman and supporter of the anti-trans group LGB Alliance, is raising funds to take her battle to ban trans women and men from her drag shows, to the High Court. 

Trigger Warning: This story discusses comments against the transgender community, which might be distressing to some readers. For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

Jessica Hoyle has raised over $3,300, since she launched her campaign on a fundraising platform last month. 

Last year, Hoyle failed in her bid to get an exemption from the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner to hold her “female-only event” and now plans to take her fight to the High Court. Her case is at present before the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (TASCAT), with a ruling expected by November 2022. 

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On her fundraising campaign page, Hoyle claims that TASCAT “may not have jurisdiction to grant my exemption. So this matter possibly looks set for a High Court challenge against Tasmania’s homophobic State laws.” 

‘Dangerous Precedent’

Advocacy group Equality Tasmania said that Hoyle’s attempts to get the High Court to rule on watering down the state’s stringent anti-discrimination laws could set a dangerous precedent. 

“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,” Equality Tasmania spokesperson, Dr Lucy Mercer Mapstone, said, in a statement. 

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

Hoyles application for an exemption was refused by Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Sarah Bolt last year. 

The commissioner  said it was “offensive, humiliating, intimidating, insulting” to ask people to prove that they were biologically female. Hoyle’s application, the commissioner said, went beyond other exemptions and required  “people to provide intimate information about their body to gain access to the proposed events”.

‘Women Only Events’

Hoyle in a 2021 video on the fundraising campaign page said that she wanted to organise a “female-only” drag king event in Launceston. 

Hoyle said she is a supporter of the anti-trans group LGB Alliance and has formed a “direct action group” named LGB Tasmania. She said there were other supporters who do not agree with “gender identity ideology”. 

In the video, Hoyle describes herself as someone who “belongs to the church” with “old fashioned” beliefs that “God made a male and a female”. 

Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Act bars single-sex events, Hoyle claimed. “Because of self ID laws we have to take in biological males.”

“It seems that in Tasmania it is now unlawful for lesbians to have a single sex exemption to hold events. This may also affect single sex gatherings for women whether lesbian, straight or bi,” said Hoyle. 

 

If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.



 

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