The Toronto Public Library and public libraries work hard to foster community and inclusivity by providing free and equitable access to their services, programs, and spaces. With this in mind, we are disappointed by TPL’s response so far regarding their refusal to cancel an event that will provide a platform to known transphobic speaker Meghan Murphy.
The spread and normalization of hateful speech fuels those who might commit a hate crime and in turn can lead to marginalized communities feeling unsafe in public spaces. Everyone has a right to feel safe at the public library.
We support trans rights, freedom of speech, and our amazing Toronto Public Library system. However, freedom of speech does not require that a public institution provide forum to everyone. The OHRC recognizes and provides protections for “gender identity, gender expression”. The trans community should be able to feel safe entering spaces like the TPL.
The event in question seeks to undermine people’s very identity by falsely claiming that the identity of trans people is an ideology intended to erode womens rights. Trans women who identify as women are women, trans men who identify as men are men, and this is codified in the OHRC.
We stand with other Toronto organizations, writers, and the trans community and urge the Toronto Public Library to reverse its decision and cancel this event.