Meghan Murphy: Hundreds protest outside Toronto Public Library as feminist gives talk on transgender rights

‘Hosting transphobic speakers that promote intolerance in Canadian society is damaging,’ transgender writer says

Samuel Osborne
Wednesday 30 October 2019 16:47
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Meghan Murphy denies she is anti-transgender
Meghan Murphy denies she is anti-transgender

Hundreds of people protested outside a library in Toronto which hosted an event featuring a feminist speaker with controversial views on transgender rights.

Meghan Murphy's talk at the Toronto Public Library's Palmerston branch on Tuesday night drew a crowd shouting: "Trans rights are human rights!"

Ms Murphy has denied she is anti-transgender.

The comedian and writer said she wanted to clarify her position, telling the audience: "If you're born male, you remain male for life."

She also said the “trans-activist movement has made for the erasure of women,” according to the Global News.

Around 30 police officers were deployed outside the library, and audience members were escorted out of the venue by officers.

“I hope that the Toronto Public Library realises that trans people matter,” Gwen Benaway, a transgender writer who won the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry earlier on Tuesday, told the Globe and Mail​ newspaper at the protest.

“Hosting transphobic speakers that promote intolerance in Canadian society is damaging and against the work of the Toronto Public Library.”

Around 100 people, mostly women, attended the 30-minute talk.

“It’s ridiculous, but here we are,” Ms Murphy said when discussing the protest outside, the newspaper reported.

“I’m told organisers had to go to 20 different spots before coming to the library. I’m glad we’re having this conversation despite some local activists and the seemingly confused local mayor.”

John Tory, the mayor of Toronto, had called the library's decision to host the event "disappointing".

More than 8,000 people signed a petition calling on the library to cancel the lecture on Tuesday.

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In October, the library defended its decision by saying it has "an obligation to protect free speech" as a public institution.

A spokesperson pointed out Ms Murphy has not been charged with or convicted of hate speech in Canada.

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