Court rejects Gympie transgender vilification appeal
A one-time member of the Gympie Aero-Club has lost his appeal against an Anti-Discrimination ruling which ordered him to pay more than $19,000 in damages to a transgender flight instructor.
Blair Rowan had appealed the 2019 decision in which he was found to have breached the Act on three occasions, including two counts of sexual harassment, in emails he sent denigrating Jennifer Beck's right to use the female toilets.
In two emails, written in 2015 and send to the club's committee, Mr Rowan first said he would "be far too busy broadsiding Jen Beck as to why we should clean his s--- from the side of a toilet bowl but he cant (sic). And also why he uses the female toilet?" and later asked how a woman felt sharing a toilet or change room with a man.
"Ask your wives if it bothers them to sit on the same toilet his genitals may have just touched after being who knows where! And then he has the audacity to refuse to be on the toilet cleaning roster!"
The emails were later given to Ms Beck, who complained to Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland, alleging sexual harassment and vilification on the basis of gender identity.
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Mr Rowan lodged a counterclaim, accusing Ms Beck herself of sexual harassment in September 2016.
This counterclaim was initially rejected by the ADCQ in September 2016, on the grounds none of the claims happened within 12 months of the complaint's lodging.
The counterclaim was later found by a tribunal to be an act of victimisation against Ms Beck and breached the law on the grounds it was not genuine.
In the published Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruling from senior member Michelle Howard and presiding member Ann Fitzpatrick, they said the tribunal member "thought the allegations of sexual harassment were simply invented by Mr Rowan in order to test the boundaries of the ADCQ".
He was ultimately ordered to pay Ms Beck $19,055.
Mr Rowan appealed this ruling alleging breaches of natural justice and multiple errors including some made "as a consequence of bias, including through the Member's interventions" and by the tribunal "making findings when other evidence is available".
These claims were all rejected by the QCAT members, who ordered Mr Rowan's application for leave to rely on fresh evidence be refused, and dismissed his appeals.