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Jack Gramenz

Trans woman's lawsuit raises 'constitutional matters'

A woman's lawsuit against an online platform where she was blocked after being "considered male" could raise constitutional matters, a court has heard.

Roxanne Tickle is suing social media platform Giggle for Girls, an app "made for women by women" that uses artificial intelligence to detect a user's gender.

After initial approval to access the platform in February 2021, Ms Tickle says it was revoked by September.

"I believe that I am being discriminated against by being provided with extremely limited functionality of a smart phone app by the app provider compared to that of other users because I am a transgender woman," Ms Tickle wrote in a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission filed in December 2021.

"I am legally permitted to identify as female."

Giggle responded Ms Tickle had been removed because she had been "considered male" by her appearance in a selfie she uploaded.

Giggle and its CEO Sally Grover did not know Ms Tickle was transgender and it did not inform the decision to revoke her access, lawyers wrote in response to the complaint in March last year.

Ms Grover described Ms Tickle as a "trans identified male" in a social media post less than three weeks later, alleging Ms Tickle wanted her to be "re-educated".

Ms Tickle sued Giggle and Ms Grover in the Federal Circuit and Family Court in July last year, dropping actions due to concerns over growing legal costs.

In a new lawsuit filed in December, Ms Tickle seeks damages, a written apology, and restored access to the platform.

"This is the sort of case, without going into the ins and outs of it, where there are likely to be ... strongly held opposing views," Federal Court Justice Robert Bromwich said at a case management hearing on Friday.

Ms Tickle is requesting the court place a "cost capping order" to limit the amount of money recoverable by whoever is successful in the lawsuit.

Giggle's barrister Bridie Nolan said the cost capping application needs to be formally moved and proved.

"(The respondent) plans to raise constitutional matters which will definitely influence the court's approach to any cost capping," Ms Nolan said on Friday.

The attorney-general will be notified and may also wish to be heard on constitutional matters, Ms Nolan said.

Giggle has also given notice it will object to the competency of the application, while Ms Tickle will seek an extension of time.

Justice Bromwich will consider both at a hearing on April 28, however he told lawyers for the two parties they should be able to find some agreement on whether the matter can proceed before then.

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