Tasmanian Woman’s Bid To Ban Trans Women From Drag King Events Rejected

Tasmanian Woman’s Bid To Ban Trans Women From Drag King Events Rejected
Image: Jessica Hoyle

The Tasmanian Civil And Administrative Tribunal has thrown out a Launceston-based lesbian woman’s application to ban trans women from her Drag King events. 

The tribunal last week dismissed the application filed by Jessica Hoyle and the anti-trans group LGB Australia, seeking an exemption under the state’s anti-discrimination laws for their proposed single-sex Drag King events.

Hoyle, who claims to have performed as a Drag King in Melbourne and Sydney for a number of years, had challenged the Equal Opportunity Tasmania Commissioner’s refusal to grant her an exemption so that she could discriminate against trans women. 

Hoyle had accused the Commissioner of being “homophobic”. 

Not Supported By Evidence

The tribunal said that there was no justification to grant the exemption sought by Hoyle and LGB Australia.

“While the applicants may not wish to comply with Act and find aspects of its application to transgender and transsexual women irksome, particularly in the context of the event they would like to hold, that is not a sufficient justification for granting the exemption,” the tribunal ruled. 

K Cuthbertson, who presided over the tribunal panel, criticised some of the arguments raised in the application.

“Many of the assertions, particularly those regarding paraphilias, patterns of criminality and nefarious motivations for attending female-only events were unsupported by empirical research or compelling evidence. The wider public interest in protecting the rights of all members of the community from discrimination and prohibited conduct would not be advanced by the Tribunal yielding to such arguments when considering the current application,” the tribunal said. 

Equality Commissioner Raised Privacy Concerns

Hoyle in her application said that she wanted to organise Drag King events that would be open to “biological females” – presumably also heterosexual women – Derek, a gay LGB Alliance member and DJ/cameraman for the event, and trans men. The tribunal noted in a June 2021 telephone conversation, Hoyle had said that “she was not sure why she had to be inclusive of everyone”. 

In July 2021, the Equal Opportunity commissioner, while dismissing Hoyle’s application for exemption, had raised privacy concerns. 

“The Commissioner noted that the exemption application made in this case went further than asking a person’s sexual orientation, but would require people to provide intimate information about their body to gain access to the proposed events as attendance would be limited to people who were not biological men. The Commissioner referred to the further information provided by LGB Alliance which stated they wanted their community to know attendees are in the right bodies,” the tribunal said. 

Equality Tasmania spokesperson, Rose Boccalatte, welcomed the tribunal’s decision.  “This decision upholds the integrity of our gold-standard Anti-Discrimination Act and sends the message that trans and gender diverse people are equally protected by that Act,” said Boccalatte, adding, “It is very welcome to see the Tribunal calling out misinformation about transgender women.”

Earlier this year, LGB Australia was among the 20-odd organisations identified as ‘far-right and extremist groups’ by the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism (GPAHE).

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