The very definition of adult public discourse

Rex Murphy is scathing on the campaign to silence Meghan Murphy:

[T]he Toronto Public Library (the well-known free-speech-mongering fascist hive) was the scene of great turbulence when Meghan Murphy (feminist scholar, writer) rented a room in one of its divisions to give a talk on gender identity and its various legal and other implications.

Now people living in less enlightened cities than Toronto might think that a civilized, qualified woman — feminist, too — speaking on the subject of women, in the quiet dignity of a public library, to people (many of them women) who wished to hear her, was the very definition of adult public discourse, an illustration of a healthy civic climate, and a very fine addition to the intellectual state of democracy.

Further, and this is a key point, the very consideration that the public library system of a city was obligingly renting a room for discussion and debate was proof, if any were needed, that TPL was living up to the great traditions of libraries since they came into the world, of providing a haven for intellect, exchange and debate.

A haven for TERFs you mean.

Immediately, the cry went up from always alert trans-activists that the library system was hosting “hate speech,” that it was a place where “bigotry” had found a home, that as a publicly funded institution it had no “right” to supply a “space” for “transphobia.” To judge from the volume and intensity of the outcry, one would believe that should this Megan Murphy give her 40-minute talk to a hundred people who wanted to hear it, Toronto was on a slide to become the Rome of Mussolini, liberal culture would expire, and it would scarcely be safe to go out at night.

As for the embattled Meghan Murphy, the most tireless label plastered on her — in news reports, sour columns and in the howling street — was that she was a “self-described,” “self-designated” feminist. That she couldn’t therefore be a “real” feminist. The careless mouths making that charge were standing in a thunderstorm of irony and not noticing they were getting drowned in the downpour.

What is the axle on which trans-identity turns? … Give me a minute here … I’ve got to check … Oh, yes. It’s self-identification. Self-description. Per exemplum, Ms. Yaniv, late of the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, and now bearing its fines, “self-identified” as a woman. That same self-identification gave Yaniv the “standing” to harass more than a dozen immigrant women.

Surely Meghan Murphy has a little more ground than self-identified Jessica Yaniv to assert the less troublous category of “feminist.” Feminist is — hold on — not even a biological state. Feminism doesn’t ask other people to wax its particles. It is an intellectual orientation.

In other words it’s a category it does make sense to “identify” as or with or into. It can still be debatable, we can still say it makes no sense to call yourself socialist or conservative if your views don’t align with your chosen designation, but it’s not pure childish make-believe.

But our brave trans-activists want to claim their “right” to nullify Murphy’s actual work, education and experience as a feminist because — by their angry tally — she just says she’s a feminist. I suggest that using “self-described” or “self-identified” as a term of scorn and rebuke is not the ideal tactic for a movement built on self-identification and self-description.

A world where Rachel McKinnon is a woman because he says so but Meghan Murphy is not a feminist even though she says she is and countless feminists agree with her is confusing at best.

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