In photos: Trans rights protest at Toronto Library

This month, the Toronto Public Library faced an outpouring of criticism from across Toronto’s queer and literary communities after its board elected to move forward with an event featuring writer Meghan Murphy, who had previously been banned from Twitter for anti-trans remarks.

On Tuesday evening, hundreds of people gathered outside the event at the Palmerston branch to demonstrate against the event.

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Gelek Badheytsang

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Gelek Badheytsang

Author and poet Gwen Benaway – who earlier that day had won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry for her book Holy Wild – spoke at the protest.

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Gelek Badheytsang

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Gelek Badheytsang

The protest included call-and-response readings of work by trans writers (including Benaway, Catherine B. Krause and Vivek Shraya) and a sing-along of a song by Laura Jane Grace.

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Gelek Badheytsang

Ashley Cooper, one of the organizers of the protest.

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Gelek Badheytsang

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Gelek Badheytsang

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Gelek Badheytsang

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Gelek Badheytsang

Demonstrators moved around to the back of the building as the event attendees and speakers left:

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Gelek Badheytsang

The tone of the event shifted when Benaway, Desmond Cole, and a few other protesters entered the building, but were later reportedly not allowed to leave by police. Several protesters returned to the window at the front of the building to hold up signs and flags.

In response, the protesters outside chanted “Who do you serve? Who do you protect?” and “This is why you’re not welcome at Pride”.

Police unsealed the library entrance at 8:30, in time for the library to close.

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Gelek Badheytsang

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Gelek Badheytsang


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