The Vancouver Public Library has been uninvited from participating in next month’s pride events, marking the second organization to be barred by the Vancouver Pride Society.
The society said in a news release Tuesday that the decision to ban the library from participating comes after library management decided to allow “Meghan Murphy to book space for an event that undermined the dignity of trans women” in January.
Earlier this month, the University of B.C. was banned from marching in the parade after also allowing “transphobic hate speech” by anti-SOGI activist Jenn Smith on its campus. At the time, UBC allowed Smith to speak, citing free speech rights.
LGBTQAI2S+ and employees of both the library and university can still march in the parade under other organizations and respective unions.
“When we released our decision about UBC, several people told us to keep the politics out of Pride,” said Vancouver Pride Society executive director, Andrea Arnot.
“Pride was born from resistance led by trans women of colour. Pride has always been political.”
The society says it discussed its concerns with the library since Murphy spoke earlier this year, and issued a joint letter written by the Coalition Against Trans Antagonism urging for changes to the library’s rental policy.
In an emailed statement to Black Press Media, the Vancouver Public Library said it is disapointed in the decision by the society.
“As a public institution, VPL is committed to providing a venue where diverse ideas and opinions can be shared and discussed. We feel that it is through exposure to different ideas and opinions that society can make informed choices about their core beliefs,” the statement reads.
“We acknowledge that this value has led to concerns related to our room rental policies and has caused a loss of trust for some in the LGBTQ2+ community.
“We hope to regain that trust as we continue our longstanding commitment to promoting dialogue and raising marginalized voices through our programs and services.”
The library added that the society is asking it to go beyond what is legally allowed by freedom of expression, and hopes to march as an organizatio0n next year.