TORONTO — The Toronto Public Library is coming under fire over its refusal to cancel an event featuring a speaker who has made controversial remarks about transgender women.

An online petition that has gathered more than 2,200 signatures says the library is providing a platform for Meghan Murphy to spread hate speech.

Murphy, who runs the website “Feminist Current,” has written that “allowing men to identify as women” endangers women and undermines women’s rights.

The library, meanwhile, says it is aware that the event has caused “anger and concern” but maintains it has an obligation to protect free speech.

The organization also says it does not believe Murphy’s talk, titled “Gender Identity: What does It Mean for Society, the Law and Women?,” violates its rental policy. 

The online petition, started by authors Alicia Elliot, Catherine Hernandez and Carrianne Leung, says allowing Murphy to speak at a public library “means denying the resources and promise of safe and equitable space to trans communities.”

The Vancouver Public Library faced similar backlash in January when it allowed Murphy to speak at one of its locations. The library was later banned from participating in that city’s Pride events, with organizers citing the decision to greenlight Murphy’s event.

The Canadian Press

The Canadian Press