Roxanne Tickle sues for social media removal

A transgender woman is suing inactive social media platform Giggle over claims of unlawful discrimination.
Who is Roxanne Tickle?

A discrimination trial over a women-only social media app has begun in the Federal Court.

‘Giggle for Girls’ is a now-inactive Australian messaging platform. It was designed to be used exclusively by women.

Transgender woman Roxanne Tickle launched legal action after she was removed from the app in 2021. Tickle claims she was discriminated against unfairly because of her gender identity.

The creator of the app denies any wrongdoing, and has repeatedly denied that Tickle is female.

Who is Roxanne Tickle?

Roxanne Tickle is a transgender woman living in NSW. Her birth certificate has been updated to reflect her gender as female.

Tickle downloaded ‘Giggle’ in 2021. She set up an account after the app’s AI photo-checking software determined she was a woman. However, Tickle was eventually blocked from the platform later that year, prompting her to launch a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

Tickle alleges she was unfairly discriminated against because of her gender identity by Giggle.

Giggle’s response to Roxanne Tickle

In an interview with The Australian, Giggle CEO Sall Grover said she manually removed Tickle from the platform after seeing her “onboarding selfie”.

Tickle escalated the case to the Federal Court after Grover chose not to participate in formal talks between Tickle and the AHRC.

Grover has continued to reject Tickle’s gender as female.

Sex Discrimination Act

The case is the first time alleged gender identity discrimination within Australia’s Sex Discrimination Act (SDA) has been heard in the Federal Court.

Changes to the SDA in 2013 made it unlawful to discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex status.

Grover rejects Tickle’s gender discrimination claim. Grover’s lawyers are arguing that Tickle is a man, and was therefore lawfully discriminated against when Giggle deleted the account.

Giggle’s defence

Grover’s team have crowdfunded more than $500,000 for Giggle’s legal defence.

Former Liberal Party candidate Katherine Deves is among the lawyers representing the platform in court.

Deves was accused of transphobic comments in the lead up to the 2022 election, when she ran in former PM Tony Abbott’s Sydney seat of Warringah.

What happens next?

The Federal Court case is due to run until the end of this week.

The court must determine if Tickle was unfairly discriminated against based on her gender identity. Part of this will involve the court either accepting or not accepting her gender identity as a woman.

The decision could set a precedent for future gender discrimination cases. This could extend to the inclusion of transgender people in community sport.

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