A library has protected free speech by refusing to bow to the demands of trans activists.
Activists objected to the meeting at Toronto Public Library as Meghan Murphy, a commentator on women’s issues, was due to give a talk entitled ‘Gender Identity: What does it mean for society, the law and women?’
Protesters gathered outside the building while the meeting was taking place, chanting and holding placards, but the library refused to cancel the event.
Murphy does not believe that men should have access to female-only spaces such as toilets and changing facilities simply by ‘self-declaring’ their gender.
She told the BBC: “Under current trans activist doctrine we’re not allowed to exclude a man from a woman’s space if he says that he’s female and I find that quite dangerous and troubling”.
Despite protesters labelling such views ‘hate speech’, the group organising the event said it is “not a hate group, and we do not espouse hate speech, or advocate for the removal of rights from any marginalised group”.
Vickery Bowles, a spokeswoman for the library, said in advance of the meeting it would not cancel the event, saying that as a public institution the library has “an obligation to protect free speech”.
She added that the event did not violate its rental policies because it did not “promote discrimination, contempt or hatred for any individual or group”.
Attendees were escorted off the premises by police officers after the event, while being subjected to verbal abuse from the angry crowd.
Earlier this year, the Open University cancelled an event discussing prison reform following threats from trans activists.
The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, which organised the debate, came under fire after it said men who call themselves women should not be allowed in female prisons.
But activists threatened “demonstrations and disruptive activity”, prompting the Open University to cancel the meeting.