A landmark case in the Federal Court which pitches a trans woman against the founder of a female-only app will test the conflict between sex and gender identity in Australian law.
Trans woman Roxanne Tickle, who was refused access to the app, has taken Sall and Giggle to the Federal Court alleging unlawful discrimination under the Human Rights Commission Act.
Changes made to the Sex Discrimination Act by the Gillard government in 2013 made it unlawful to discriminate against a person based on gender and removed the definitions of a man and woman.
Sall’s legal team will argue those amendments go against the Conventions on the Elimination of All Forms of Violence Against Women (CEDAW), which the Act was created to put into effect.
Roxanne has been trying gain access to Giggle since early 2021 when she got through its automatic gender recognition technology.
The 53-year-old was removed from Giggle when a standard manual check was carried out.
Sall said she did not know at the time she removed Roxanne she was transgender, but merely saw an uploaded photo of a person she believed to be a man.
When Sall refused to allow her access, Roxanne filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission.
Sall rejected conciliation and in October last year was served Federal Court documents.
Tickle had brought the same claim in July last year but withdrew it before the matter went to court.
In a new lawsuit filed in December Roxanne said she was seeking damages, a written apology and access to Giggle.
Sall’s legal team argues there is a clear conflict between the sex-based rights of women and the rights of those claiming a gender identity.
They claim Sall and Giggle have not discriminated against Roxanne on the basis of gender identity, but rather on the basis of her sex.
Discrimination on that basis is protected under the Act when it is deemed necessary to protect or achieve equality for women.