Canadian libraries renew commitment to free speech

Halifax, Nova Scotia Public Library, site of the controversy

As representatives of parents of gender-questioning children and young people, Genspect would like to thank the Canadian Federation of Library Associations for their thoughtful and considered statement in response to demands to censor and remove the book Irreversible Damage by Genspect advisor Abigail Shrier.

Genspect represents thousands of parents worldwide who have trans-identified children and need to help their children make critical and life-changing decisions about social and medical gender transition. Shrier’s book raises many important issues about the care and guidance these young people are receiving and highlights the changing social media landscape and political environment that is influencing children to self-diagnose themselves and pursue a particular path. 

The decision to retain Abigail Shrier’s Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our
Daughters in the face of requests to remove it demonstrates the commitment to a diversity of
thought in the development of library collections.

Genspect is concerned that many children and young people are receiving inappropriate medical interventions before they have a chance to fully explore and understand their gender non-conformity and how to best deal with the distress caused by the strict gender roles that our society imposes.  We applaud the CFLA for taking a firm stance on this book by recognizing the threat that such calls for censorship pose to Canadians’ fundamental rights and freedoms that are guaranteed under the Charter

“CFLA-FCAB ‘affirms that all persons in Canada have a fundamental right, subject only to the
Constitution and the law, to have access to the full range of knowledge, imagination, ideas, and
opinion, and to express their thoughts publicly. Only the courts may abridge free expression
rights in Canada.’ Further, library ’employees, volunteers and employers as well as library
governing entities have a core responsibility to uphold the principles of intellectual freedom in
the performance of their respective library roles.’”

We call on all Canadian libraries – from coast to coast to coast – to ensure that several copies of Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier are made available within your library systems as it has become an important resource for those who would like to develop a broader understanding of this issue of moral conscience that is affecting gender non-conforming children and young people throughout Canada and around the world. 

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