Vic councillor Tosh-Jake Finnigan tasered during meeting


Tosh-Jake Finnigan

Transgender Victorian councillor Tosh-Jake Finnigan has spoken about being tased by police during a council meeting last week.

Tosh-Jake Finnigan made history in 2023 as Victoria’s first out transgender councillor. The Colac Otway Shire councillor said at the time they wanted to represent everyone in the shire.

“I’m proud of who I am, but being trans and non-binary is just one aspect of who I am, and I don’t want to be a councillor who represents only the queer community, I want to be a councillor who represents everyone in the shire.”

Tosh-Jake has always been open about their struggle with mental health. They said on Facebook that they shared the following statement in the interest of transparency and to help destigmatise mental illness.

Mental Illnesses

Tosh-Jakes said they suffer from a number of mental illnesses.

“Like one would for any other chronic illness, I receive treatment, take medication, and undergo therapy to better manage the impacts.

Courtesy of the in-depth therapy I’ve previously received, I have learned many skills that have enabled me to best manage my illnesses and maintain a relatively “high-functioning” baseline. But sometimes, things can go awry, and I can become quite unwell.

A mental health emergency

During Wednesday evening’s Colac Otway Shire Council meeting, I suffered from a mental health emergency. That required the postponement of the meeting, and the attendance of emergency services.

Tosh-Jake wrote that they had no recollection of the meeting past an early agenda item. However, they learned later that their demeanour changed markedly after an agenda item was suddenly made confidential.

The councillor complained of being gagged and placed a post-it note with the word “GAGGED” over their mouth.

After the meeting, Tosh-Jake injured themselves with a sharp object.

“At this point emergency services were called, and upon their arrival, police elected to deploy the use of a taser to prevent me from further harming myself, and I was sent to hospital in Geelong via ambulance for emergency treatment.”

If you need someone to talk to, help is available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at QLife.org.au. Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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