Toronto public library

Local authors are now boycotting the Toronto Public Library

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.

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."

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."

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.

Even in New Zealand, her appearances have been controversial and divisive

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.

Lead photo by

Toronto Public Library


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