Judge orders trans activist's pronouns must be respected in 'Billboard Chris' hearing

Court's directive that a biological woman cannot be referred to as 'she' raises eyebrows amid ongoing legal battle for free speech.

Judge orders trans activist's pronouns must be respected in 'Billboard Chris' hearing
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The judge in 'Billboard' Chris Elston's directions hearing declared that a biological woman be addressed with male pronouns in court.

The call was made during a session on Thursday, which also debated the involvement of trans activist Teddy Cook in the case against Australia's eSafety Commissioner.

Dr Reuben Kirkham of the Free Speech Union of Australia, representing Elston, was scolded for using female pronouns when referring to Cook in the court.

"It was an 'interesting' experience - the instruction was to use 'he' or 'Teddy Cook' (we opted for the latter). It was a Federal Court Judge sitting in the AAT - who then went on to call Cook 'they' several times. The cognitive dissonance doesn't help the proceedings," the Free Speech Union posted on social media after the hearing.

The court eventually ruled that Cook would not be a party to the proceedings and should not be named in tribunal documents. Discussions also covered whether X Corp should remain an interested party. The Judge decided to keep the matters separate but ordered that documents be shared between them, with hearings held concurrently unless confidentiality orders are imposed.

Kirkham argued that the eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman-Grant, was prolonging the case unnecessarily, advocating for a more expedited timeline. The judge has instructed all parties to file a certificate stating the matter is ready for hearing by 28 August.

Elston, a Canadian, has a history of anti-child mutilation activism and recently had a post removed by X Corp, following an order from the eSafety Commissioner.

The post mentioned Cook, which led to the threat of an $800,000 fine. X Corp complied but is legally challenging the removal order, citing free speech concerns.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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