Loud protest greets Toronto library appearance by controversial blogger
Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, October 29, 2019 7:27PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 29, 2019 8:57PM EDT
Dozens of angry protesters gathered outside a Toronto library branch Tuesday night to demonstrate against an event featuring a blogger who they say holds anti-trans views.
The event at the Palmerston branch in Seaton Village featured self-described feminist writer Meghan Murphy, who has written that gender identity isn’t real and undermines women’s rights.
Protesters gathered outside the event throughout the day, many holding signs and chanting.
Jeers and boos broke out as people exited the event, titled the event, titled ‘Gender Identity: What does It Mean for Society, the Law, and Women,’ and police had to assist some of the attendees to bypass the crowd.
“It’s because a lot of people don’t believe that trans-misogyny is real and trans women are constantly invalidated as not women,” one protester who identified herself as Adrianne told CP24. “She (Murphy) is what most people would define as a trans-exclusionary radical feminist.”
She said that as a transgender woman, she constantly experiences trans misogyny.
Murphy herself was expected to speak with media following the event, but left without talking to reporters.
In clips captured by cameras inside the event, Murphy denied that her views constitute hate speech.
“I never said that trans people should not have rights or that they are dangerous. I don’t believe that,” Murphy said. “I have not suggested that trans people be excluded from spaces.
“I’m not actually interested in whether people identify as trans. It has no bearing on my arguments. I’m interested in who’s male and who’s female. I certainly don’t wish violence on anyone. I’ve never advocated for violence against anyone. I’ve never engaged in hate speech.”
Library officials have said that they would allow the event to go forward on the basis of free speech, a move criticized by some, including Mayor John Tory.
“As a public library and public institution, we have an obligation to protect free speech,” City Librarian Vickery Bowles wrote in a statement last week. “The community is asking us to censor someone because of the beliefs they hold and to restrict a group’s right to equitably access public space and we cannot do either. Doing so would also weaken our ability to protect others’ rights to the same in the future.
For his part, Tory said he was “disappointed” in the decision and that there were “thousands of places” that the event could have been held aside from city space.