TORONTO — Jill Andrew, NDP critic for Culture and Women’s Issues and the MPP for Toronto-St. Paul’s issued the following statement, responding to the Toronto Public Library’s refusal to cancel an Oct. 29 event featuring Meghan Murphy:
“I was dismayed to learn that the Toronto Public Library (TPL) is refusing to cancel an event at its Palmerston branch featuring Meghan Murphy, a writer and speaker known for spreading discriminatory views about trans women.
Not only has Murphy publicly opposed Bill C-16, an enactment that makes it illegal to discriminate based on gender identity and expression, but she has stated that trans women should not be allowed to access to women’s washrooms, locker rooms and prison facilities.
I disagree with the TPL allowing a third-party group to rent space from the library that will give a platform to an individual who openly expresses dangerous transphobic opinions.
Allowing Murphy a space to disseminate her views serves to provide platforms where individuals may promote homophobia, transphobia and hate speech.
Let me be clear: I love libraries, and have long valued the TPL for providing safe, welcoming and inclusive spaces for many in our city who are vulnerable, coming from marginalized communities.
This said, a person who publicly espouses hate speech should not be given a platform to disseminate their views at a publicly funded institution such as the TPL.
As a proud member of Toronto’s queer community, I stand in solidarity with LGBTQ folks, as well as with local writers and members of the literary community who are standing up to oppose the TPL’s decision. Thank you specifically to Alicia Elliot, Catherine Hernandez and Carrianne Leung for creating this important petition.
A person’s gender identity or gender expression should never be open for debate.
After learning that the TPL will not cancel the Oct. 29 event, I cancelled my appearance at a literary awards ceremony that took place two nights ago at a TPL branch. Further, I have notified an organization hosting an upcoming event at the Toronto Reference Library that I will not attend if the TPL refuses to back down on giving a platform to the event hosting Murphy.
I sincerely hope that the TPL will reconsider its decision, and cancel this problematic event.
Our public spaces must never become platforms for hate speech or discrimination of any kind.
In the meantime, I encourage those who feel inclined to join me in signing this petition.”