Halifax Pride severed its ties with the Halifax Public Library because the library would not bend to demands to remove a book from their shelves. The book is Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters by Abigail Shrier, and a petition was circulated to have it removed from the library. The library refused.
The Library issued a statement saying that they'd received two petitions to remove the book since March, but said that in "response to community concerns, we hosted conversations with community members and groups."
They said, "Through our consultation and conversation with community members regarding this title, we have come to understand more deeply the trauma that is disproportionately experienced by the trans community and to appreciate the community's resilience in the face of transphobia."
The petition was started by Mila McKay on Change.org after 25 joined a waiting list to read one of the library's two copies of the book. McKay takes issue with Shrier's book for two reasons, stating that "The inclusion of this book into the Halifax public libraries has done two things. 1) increased ease of access to parents and other adults who work with youth who may believe the hateful messages in the book and subsequently act in ways that endanger trans children. 2) Increases the author's ability to further spread her hateful messaging: through indirect advertisement of her other works."
However, that wasn't reason enough for Halifax Public Library to pull the book. The Library stated its "commitment to open dialogue and intellectual freedom," saying that Public libraries exist to provide equal access to resources for everyone and support individuals' freedom to seek information and form their own opinions. When we act to suppress access, we engage in censorship."
They went on to say that "Halifax Public Libraries is committed to supporting trans people and the broader LGBTQ2S+ community. We can work together, collaboratively, to elevate trans voices, and create more compassion and understanding for marginalized experiences. We know our conversations will continue."
"The activists will use any excuse to demand censorship of those who note the serious risks of medical transition of teenagers," Shrier told The Post Millennial. "This is just one of the games that they play. I'm very glad that Halifax Library stood up to the bullies."
The CBC was not quite so egalitarian, and noted that though Halifax Pride had "urged the library to remove the book and review its collection development policy that guides which books are brought into the library's collection," they had determined to end their partnership with the library.
It reads as though the CBC thinks the Halifax Public Library got what it deserved for not caving to ideological censors.
In practical terms, per the CBC, this rift means that "there will be no library events planned for the 2021 festival. Halifax Pride says it will refrain from booking library spaces until this issue is addressed with some combination of internal review, policy change and training."
The CBC spoke to activists with Halifax Pride, but they did not reach out to Shrier. They did, however, include a tweet in their original story that compared Shrier's book to a book by notorious racist and KKK member David Duke.
"The original CBC article compared me to neo-Nazi David Duke," Shrier told The Post Millennial, "without ever having asked me for comment. Then they quietly edited that part out without even noting the change. This is the opposite of journalistic integrity or truthfulness."
They went in and edited it out of the story, and perhaps they did not advocate this view specifically, but they did feel strongly enough that it was worthy of repeating and sharing to include it in their published story.
Activists who spoke against the book include trans-identified individuals who go by the monikers Poison Ivy and Neovagina Evangelion on Twitter. They say that the presence of a book on a shelf makes them "no longer feel fully safe" using the local library. Just to be clear, they feel they are personally harmed by a book.
"The notion that a grown adult wouldn't 'feel safe' in a library of tens of thousands of books because of a single book is just ludicrous," Shrier told The Post Millennial.
The CBC fell into the same trap that so many trans rights activists and their acolytes have: They assume that any question of the trans narrative is bigoted, that any debate about what makes a human being, any concern over trans ideology positing fully that there is a split between mind and body, any worry broached about the effect of what's called "trans affirming" medical procedures, such as voluntary and cosmetic mastectomies and castrations, calls into question a trans person's "right to exist."
Chris Cochrane, identified as the vice-chair of Pride's board of directors and transgender and non-binary committee lead, told CBC that "(As a) trans person, I'm not going to debate my existence, and this book is definitely debating the existence of trans people."
Cochrane wanted the book pulled from shelves, and for the Halifax Library to change how they selected books for their shelves. He told CDC that "Until they do so, then we're going to have to stay where we're staying."
The pertinent part of that book selection policy reads: "The library attempts to make available, the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those which may be regarded as unorthodox or unpopular with the majority. To accomplish this, the library will purchase controversial materials in order to ensure public access to all sides of an issue. Materials are acquired to foster interest and to anticipate demand as well as to sustain demonstrated interest and demand." The petition, begun in April, has not yet achieved its desired 5,000 signatures, though it's more than half way there.
McKay told the CBC that "The impact of this book on, like, even one kid is potentially their life. This is to me, it's like a canary in the coal mine. I'm really nervous about what the requesting of this book means for the larger discourse and sort of attitude that is ... growing in Halifax."
Vice reported that McKay, "who identifies as transgender and non-binary," said that "When it comes to the library, they don't have an obligation and they don't have the space to house every book in the world. They especially don't have the obligation to house a book that contains debunked science and very politically charged hateful content."
Shrier's book has come under attack by trans rights activists since it was released. After a few complaints on Twitter, Target pulled the book. Amazon employees made a stink and tried to get the book pulled, but eventually the massive online bookseller declined to give in to those demands.
The CBC frames the issue of Pride versus the Public Library as one where the activists are undoubtedly right. They quote suicide risks for transgender youth, which numbers come from a few studies with flawed methodologies. Additionally, these studies do not show that medical intervention in young people who identify as trans produces the desired results or diminishes any risk of suicide or suicidal thoughts.
Yet the CBC takes the word of trans rights activists as gospel, and proclaims basically that speech that questions their ideological narrative is harmful to their right to exist. But trans rights activists have an ungainly sway in online discourse and they wield it to silence people. They use insults, threats, and scare tactics to get people who disagree with them to shut up.
These antics with the Halifax Public Library led some writers to cancel their events, meaning that trans rights activists are depriving the community of access to authors and their work all because they don't like their narrative being questioned.
Neither the Halifax Public Library nor the CBC could be reached for comment at the time of publication.
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