Victorian Pride Centre action by LAG (August 2023)

First call for action by LAG

Help fight the new homophobia

  • Lesbian group excluded from Victorian Pride Centre.
  • Government funding is not supporting Victorian lesbians.
  • Help Us Fight The New Homophobia.

The Lesbian Action Group, a group of lesbians from Melbourne and Central Victoria, applied to hold a lesbian-only event at Victoria’s Pride Centre, in order to celebrate International Lesbian Day on 8th of October. They have also applied to the AHRC for an exemption to do so.

‘During the 1980s and 1990s,’ explains Nicole Mowbray, a founding member of the Lesbian Action Group, ‘I was able to go out to any number of lesbian only events in Melbourne and have fun with my lesbian friends. For the past 20 years the lesbian community has had to go underground and meet in private. We applied to book a space at the Pride Centre so we could once again hold an event that lesbians could enjoy.’

Victoria’s Pride Centre rejected the booking saying it went against their “diversity and inclusion” policies.

Members of the Lesbian Action Group say that the Victorian Pride Centre is discriminating against lesbians and that public funding is not being directed to the best interests of lesbians. They have asked that the Pride Centre management explain why they are excluding lesbians from the purpose-built LGBTIQ centre. The Pride Centre management has refused their request for a meeting.

Lesbians are a distinct cultural group that should have a right to freedom of association. The Pride Centre is discriminating against lesbians and is breaking several international human rights mandates that the Australian Government is signed up to.

‘Lesbians should have a right to assemble in a single-sex space’ says Lesbian Action Group spokeswoman, Carole Ann. ‘It’s about celebrating our lesbian culture in company with our lesbian community as we used to be able to do.’

Carole Ann

Nicole Mowbray

Available for interviews by the media.

CONTACT LIST CEO Justine Della Riva Chair of the Board Deputy Chair of the Board Treasurer Board director Board director Board director Board director Board director 


Kerry Taylor, Anita Fiorenza, Max Haywood, Bree McKilligan


Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG 


Amao Leota Lu

Benjamin Law 

Courtney Act 

Julie McCrossin 

Tony Briffa 

G Flip Greg Axtens Rhonda Galbally Zoe Coombs Marr Tony Ayers

You might want to hit them where the money comes from…


Vic State Gov; City of Port Phillip; Chemist Warehouse; Lifeview; L’Oreal Australia; Splunk; Cashman & Wakefield; Hall & Wilcox; Minter Ellison; Harvest Insights; Scotchmans Hill; Broadtree; Sydney Myer Fund; Lord Mayors Charitable Fund; Gandel Foundation 

There are also groups who use the centre (Who lives here) and groups who are supported by the centre (Directory) found on their website


The Hon Harriet Shing Minister For Equality (03)9637 9654

Mr James Newbury Shadow Minister For Equality (03)9592 1900

Useful Links:

More mainstream LGBTQ+ organisations failing the LGB — LGB Alliance Australia


Dear ……

I am writing to express my deep concern that lesbians have been denied the use of Pride Centre facilities.

I am pretty sure this is illegal under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth). If it isn’t illegal it certainly isn’t fair and just.

I am curious as to why, in the name of inclusion, the pride Centre is excluding a group which is supposedly under the LGBTQIA+ banner. Lesbians who were born female have a particular culture, needs, experiences of discrimination not shared by other groups. They need their own spaces.

I wholeheartedly support the right of any group to meet on occasion with those from their own particular subset of LGBTQIA+. I don’t understand why this is a problem for you. I believe in fact that I have seen events and groups exclusively for trans people. How is this different?

I look forward to your explanation.

etc etc etc


I am part of the group of people currently being denied use of the Pride Centre facilities.

I am heartbroken that I am being excluded from what is supposed to be a place I should feel safe in. I would love to attend a celebration of Internation Lesbian Day with my sisters, at the Pride Centre. Please explain why I can’t do that.

etc etc etc

Dear …..

Are you aware that a significant group within the LGBTIQ+ community have been denied the right to hold a function there to celebrate International Lesbian Day on October 8th. Pride Centre management have refused our booking, and further refused a meeting to discuss the matter.

The group wish to hold an event specifically for lesbians. We/they would like to be able to celebrate this special day amongst themselves. It is unconceivable that they have been turned down.

etc etc etc

Dear ….

I believe you are a sponsor for the Victorian Pride Centre. Are you aware that they are discriminating against a group that they claim to be under their umbrella, namely lesbians.

They have refused…….

etc, etc, etc

LAG initiated a coordinated campaign and details from their first media release are shown below. A copy of the CoAL submission in support of their action is here. Reports in the media were:

  • WDI (Women’s Declaration International): ‘Nicole Mowbray – Australia – Lesbian Action Group, 21.9.23. Link is here.

This is Jo Brew from WDI interviewing  Nicole Mowbray of LAG.

  • LOTL: ‘The Lesbian Action Group’s Exemption Request: Balancing Rights And Inclusion,’ 7.9.23. Link is here.

This publication believes that a woman can have a penis, stating ‘The purpose of this exemption is to host an event for lesbians that would exclude certain groups of women.’ This is an incorrect interpretation of LAG’s intention, which was to host an event for lesbians only (ie, to exclude men who say they are lesbians).

  • Sydney Morning Herald: Chip Le Grande,Bid to exclude trans women from lesbian event sparks stand-off,’ 14.9.23. Link is here.
  • The Age: Chip Le Grande, ‘Lesbian group seeks human rights exemption to exclude trans women from Melbourne event,’ 21.8.23. Link is here.

Update (26.9.23)

Call from LAG to maintain action in appealing the Victorian Pride Centre decision to exclude lesbians who want a sex-based event to celebrate International Lesbian Day.

‘As many of you know by now the AHRC has put out a preliminary finding to deny our exemption application.

This is not unexpected and in fact we see it as a win. We now have a second chance to get our message out far and wide re the discrimination against lesbians. Make the most of it – send it out on social media, discuss it with friends and among your networks, contact media….  put in another letter to the commission.’

Link to AHR decision is here.

A key statement in that decision is: ”The Commission notes that the grant of this exemption may lead to the further exclusion of and discrimination against same-sex attracted transgender women. Transgender women are a group who have and continue to experience discrimination, harassment and social exclusion. (footnote 32: Equality Australia joint submission, Rainbow Rights Watch, Melbourne Bisexual Network)

Seems the AHRC is getting tangled up again in its insistence to confuse biological sex with socially (and now legally) ascribed gender! Surely ‘same-sex attracted transgender women’ means men who identify as women being attracted to other men who identify as women. But this isn’t what usually happens. Instead, lesbians with sexed women’s bodies who are attracted only to other similar women find themelves often harassed for unwanted sex by men who identify as women. These men are  mainly heterosexual and want access to women’s bodies, not to others similar to themselves.

It’s the same old, same old–a male sense of entitlement, only now they have a legal loophole and we are being told we can’t do anything legally! Not on! Laws need to revert to provide the sex-based protections we fought hard for in the past.

Read past appeal on this website here

Carol Ann, speaker at Lesbians Speak Out, St Patrick’s Square, Aukland (20.9.23). See YouTube clip here.

Victorian Parliament House Speak Out (17.10.23)

Carole Ann spoke with a team of women in Parliament House on 17.10.23.

Topic: Why can’t women talk about sex?

Audience: a few journalists, a few politicians, and many supporters.

View the video here.

Update - AHRC final decision (12.10.23)

Final decision by the AHRC was a rejection of the LAG application for exemption from the SDA to hold a lesbian only event at the Melbourne Pride Centre. Seems like the AHRC believes the trans cult’s mantra (trans women are women) and that a lesbian can have a penis!!!?!!!

The notice of the final decision is here.