Intellectual Freedom and Inclusivity: Opposites or Partners?

Deborah A. Thomas


A commentary on a recent controversy in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, when a speaker considered to be transphobic was allowed to book a meeting room at Vancouver Public Library. The library defended the right of the speaker to her freedom of expression, though certain conditions were placed on the event and the library publicly distanced itself from her views. The library has experienced a fractured relationship with the transgendered and gender non-confirming community since the event which it is attempting to mend.  This article is an exploration of the arguments on both sides in the library community and beyond and of the larger questions about the use of public meeting rooms and freedom of expression in the 21st century. It is also about the personal journey of the author, an advocate for both intellectual freedom and LGBTQ+ rights, and her conversations to those attempting to find a new definition of what constititutes intellectual freedom.

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