Tasmania city councillors invited an anti-trans group to help design trans-inclusive posters for public bathrooms.
What a delegate first pitched as a way to promote inclusivity quickly went south after Hobart City Council invited a trans-exclusionary radical feminist group – Women Speak Tasmania – to have their say in the design process.
The original motion stated that the posters would be developed ‘in collaboration with relevant organisations, such as Working It Out and Transforming Tasmania,’ according to ABC News.
Alderman Holly Ewin moved the original bill, which Hobart City Council approved last month.
But last week (6 June) councillors introduced an amendment to the bill to rope Women Speak Tasmania into the design process. Councillors voted it through.
Non-binary councillor Ewin expressed their confusion over why other aldermen wanted to include the group.
‘I guess from their [the aldermen’s] perspective it’s in the interests of balance and impartiality,’ they said.
‘[Women Speak Tasmania is] just an anti-trans group posting anti-trans sentiment.
‘Women Speak Tasmania] flat out think trans people shouldn’t be using public restrooms unless they’re using non-gendered bathrooms or the sex that they were assigned at birth,’ they said.
Isla Fisher from Woman Speak Tasmania rejected any assertion of a trans exclusionary bias.
She claimed the group supports the protection and safety of transgender people, but she does not think ‘trans women are women.’
‘Belittle trans people’
Long-time Tasmanian transgender advocate Martine Delaney denounced the news.
The Transforming Tasmania member said: ‘It smacks of somebody trying to ensure that there isn’t actually a poster at the end of it,” she said.
‘Women Speak [Tasmania], despite repeatedly making claims that they are supportive of trans people and have no problems or issues with trans people or trans rights, almost every action they take is designed to belittle trans people, question the existence of trans people and exclude them wherever possible.’
LGBTI rights in Tasmania
In the rugged, bumpy state of Tasmania, LGBTI citizens have it pretty smooth.
The media once referred to the state as ‘Bigots Island’ up until the late 1990s. That is when lawmakers began to recognize pro-LGBTI bills.
Tasmania was the final patch of the continent to decrminalize homosexuality. Following this, social programs and political attitudes quickly swayed in favor of LGBTI people.
In fact, support for marriage equality was some of the highest in Australia; 63.6% voted in favor.
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