Tasmanian News

Transgender row sparks legal threat


A women's rights group is considering defamation action against Tasmania's former antidiscrimination commissioner.

Women Speak Tasmania was due to address a Human Rights Week event in Hobart next week, prompting an email to organisers from Robin Banks (reproduced below) accusing them of hate speech.

‘I am writing out of concern for WILPF, having just seen the invitation to your human rights week event at which you have Women Speak Tasmania as the speakers.
I anticipate that the reason you have invited this group is their apparent promotion of women’s rights. Sadly, this is not a group that support human rights for all. They have, at
present, a nasty and untruthful campaign targeting members of Tasmania’s gender diverse community. They do not support the human rights of people who are gender diverse. Indeed, they deny their very humanity and existence. The giving to this group a platform for their hateful views by WILPF will be seen by many in the LGBTIQ community as an endorsement
by WILPF of those views. This is the very real potential to damage the reputation of an extraordinary and compassionate long-standing human rights group.
If there is any way that I can help you to negotiate what I think is a very difficult situation, I am happy to do so.

"Women Speak Tasmania members will be submitting a claim to the Tasmanian Anti-discrimination Commissioner on the grounds that Ms Banks’ email has insulted, humiliated and ridiculed them," said Bronwyn Williams from WST. 

"We may also consider a defamation action."

Isla McGregor, also of WST, has told Tasmania Talks they won't be silenced on the potential danger posed by some transgender women.

"The evidence base for the impacts on women and girls, both in sports, in prisons, in refuges...is enormous," she said. 

"All this evidence is tumbling out of the woodwork at a daily rate in the UK and the US; whistleblowers in education, in health, in the medical and scientific community are coming out almost on a daily basis, but Tasmania is this little island down in the southwest Pacific which seems to think itself immune from international developments in legislative reform." 

Image: protesters campaign outside the Linda Bellos court case in London. Bellos was privately prosecuted for remarks about transwomen (PA Wire). 

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