More than 500 members of the Toronto-area writing community have signed a petition against the Toronto Public Library this morning.
The group behind the burgeoning petition — spearheaded by Toronto-area authors Alicia Elliot, Catherine Hernandez, and Carrianne Leung — are calling the TPL out for hosting an event featuring notoriously transphobic, anti-sex worker, and Twitter-blacklisted Feminist Current founder and blogger Meghan Murphy.
Two authors and I have decided we will not be participating in any events at the Toronto Public Library moving forward if they allow the Meghan Murphy event to take place in their facilities. We would appreciate if you would sign this letter in solidarity.https://t.co/aFEDqa0gj5— Alicia Elliott (@WordsandGuitar) October 15, 2019
Murphy is due to speak about gender identity at the Palmerston Library Theatre on Oct. 29. Those who have signed the petition vow not to participate in any TPL events if her talk is permitted to take place.
"Hate groups do not have a right to use publicly funded facilities to meet and organize," the Change.org petition reads. "We are shocked that our public institutions we hold in regard would allow Murphy to have a platform while purporting to uphold community values."
Venues have a responsibility to who they invite into their buildings! I’ve signed this petition: Toronto Public Library: Request for TPL to cancel rental booking for transphobic event at Palmerston Library - Sign the Petition! https://t.co/G8oYcI944d via @CdnChange— Marjorie Chan | 陳以珏 (@magicalmudge) October 15, 2019
Hernandez says that, in light of Murphy's event, she has found a new venue for her upcoming book launch, which was scheduled to take place at the Fort York Public Library on Oct. 20.
"As a cisgender queer person with transgender family members, it’s imperative to me that I help create spaces that are safe for them to live, love, learn and work," Hernandez says. "Our hope is that a boycott will send a clear message that transphobic rhetoric leads to transphobic violence."
I signed this petition. As a professor of creative writing, it quite frankly sickens me to think one of my students would be in danger while trying to take out a book, trying to learn, because they were not assigned their gender at birth. Please sign this letter in solidarity. https://t.co/av0yizthoj— Julie Mannell (@JulieMannell) October 15, 2019
This is not the first time one of Murphy's events has had Canadians up in arms: the Vancouver Public Library was confronted with backlash for hosting her in January, and Burnaby, B.C.'s Simon Fraser University (Murphy's alma mater) is facing criticism for allowing her to speak on a panel about media and gender identity next month.
We’ve carefully reviewed the rental request and it doesn’t violate the policy based on its stated purpose. The event organizers are also contractually obligated not to violate the policy. As always, we will take action right away if the event violates our policy or the law.— Toronto Public Library (@torontolibrary) October 12, 2019
The TPL claims that it is not in fact hosting the event, but that Murphy's talk is simply a third-party rental of its space, which takes place in accordance with its policies, though it has "carefully reviewed" the rental request.
by Becky Robertson via blogTO