Today in Things I Never Thought I’d Have to Say: it’s time to storm the Toronto Public Library

Listen, you know how I feel about librarians: sexiest people on the planet. That is, when they’re not supporting hate speech. Sadly, the board of the TPL has upheld an ill-informed decision to allow an anti-trans activist to speak. My partner, novelist and screenwriter Elisabeth de Mariaffi, was scheduled to speak there this week at their invite but has backed out in protest (along with other panelists Lynn Coady and Christy-Ann Conlin), but will still fly in to join the protests . The library told her that while the rhetoric at the event may be hateful, it doesn’t constitute hate speech, officially. Tell that to trans folk who feel they can’t come near your libraries any more because you are legitimizing in the public eye dehumanizing messages of intolerance and hate. Make no mistake, people like this human wet-wipe go OUT OF THEIR WAY to book public institution space BECAUSE it seems to have a legitimizing effect. If the message is one of intolerance and hate, it doesn’t belong in a public space. (Side note: I would be interested to see some analysis of how the Ford government’s recent edict making public institutions develop a “free speech” policy (which is to say: a policy designed to create this exact situation for his base of hate-mongering mouth-breathers) has impacted and encouraged all this.) Get out your pitchforks and torches, people.

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