Depending on where you stand, Bridget Clinch is either a brave campaigner for a marginalised minority or a serial litigant stifling free speech — or possibly both.
The former Greens candidate and ex-military man, now living as a woman, has taken four anti-discrimination complaints in two jurisdictions, accusing people of “misgendering” her or other transgender people. Her most recent litigation is against Canberra journalist and feminist Beth Rep. Ms Clinch claims Rep’s Facebook posts, referring to transgender women as males, are vilification.
Rep has been advised by her lawyers not to discuss the case, but has in Facebook posts accused Ms Clinch of bullying and “stalker behaviour”, including complaining to her employer, Radio 2CC.
Their initial legal skirmish, before the ACT Human Rights Commission, ended in July with Rep making an online apology for “any hurt I have caused Bridget and for any way I have vilified or victimised her”. However, Ms Clinch is now pursuing Rep for damages in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal, claiming the journalist’s subsequent Facebook posts and “likes” breach their settlement and constitute “victimisation”.
In Facebook posts, Rep has defended her actions, describing the initial complaint against her as “Orwellian … madness”, accusing Ms Clinch and the Greens of “making a mockery of real discrimination”.
In one post, she wrote: “How is calling someone a man vilification? I’m sure men would disagree. I used to get misgendered all the time when I had short hair.”