Hobart mayoral candidate who identified as a frog accused of transphobia

Leaked email reveals severed rainbow connection as local government election battle gets personal

Hobart mayoral candidate who identified as a frog accused of transphobia
Kermit the Frog / The Muppets
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A Hobart mayoral candidate who signed off an email by identifying as a frog has been accused of transphobia.

In an email addressed to a non-binary Hobart council member who uses the pronouns they/them, Louise Elliot identified herself as "Kermit (Louise) Elliot" with the tag "riddup - I identify as a frog".

When one of the councillors who had been cc-ed in the email exchange asked what Elliot meant by the email signature, Elliot replied that it was a “personal and private matter”.
"Are you saying you identify as an animal Louise? (I mean not a human one, but an amphibious one?)” the councillor wrote.

Elliot replied:

"Are you questioning my gender identity — for your own curiosity — and involving several councillors to witness this discussion?

"I certainly hope this isn't the case as I would find that very distressing, humiliating.

"I would never seek to interrogate anyone else on such a personal and highly irrelevant issue, especially in a group setting."

The email exchange, which took place in 2020, was leaked to the ABC in the lead up to this month’s local government election.

The non-binary councillor to whom the email was addressed said the email was an obvious indication of where Elliot stood on transgender and queer issues and questioned whether she was fit to represent the people of Hobart as mayor.

"Obviously, [to Ms Elliot], we are not people who are deserving of the same level of respect as cisgender and heterosexual members of society, which is obviously incredibly offensive," she said.

Elliot, who is president of the Tasmanian Residential Rental Properties Association, told the ABC the context of the email was that she had been frustrated with the rudeness of the non-binary councillor toward landlords.

"I strongly believe that everyone is equal, regardless of their gender, sex, sexual orientation or any other attribute," she said.

"We all deserve to live in a welcoming, safe and fair world."

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  • By Avi Yemini

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