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Meghan Murphy is a Canadian trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) who founded and operates the TERF website Feminist Current. Among other things, she is notorious for her opposition to third-wave feminism. She was permanently banned from Twitter for hate speech in 2018 and lost a lawsuit over her ban.
She graduated from Simon Fraser University with a master's degree in Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies in 2012. She was a writer for the online magazine rabble.ca until 2016.
Misgendering of trans women
Murphy groups trans women together with cis men by analysing sex instead of gender as a class, arguing that trans women were socialized as male, while apparently ignoring the fact that many transgender women have spent a good part (perhaps even most) of their lives living as women and thus being perceived and "socialized" as female. She regards trans women merely as "gender non-conforming male(s)" and denies that they are treated in any manner comparable to (or in some cases, worse than) cisgender women, despite evidence that trans women do indeed suffer from such phenomena as the wage gap, high levels of sexual violence, and the trans panic "defense".
Worse still, Murphy repeatedly and quite deliberately misgenders trans women by referring to them as "he" and "him", and has characterized the use of the pronoun "she" to refer to trans women as "gaslighting of women". In 2018, this continued behaviour resulted in the permanent suspension of her Twitter account; she contested this with a lawsuit which was dismissed in June 2019.
Murphy maintains a persecution complex by conflating her trans-exclusionary strain of "feminism" with feminism in general, thus claiming that those who oppose the former are opposing feminism itself, and similarly, framing cherry-picked instances of backlash against certain women who express transphobic talking points as an attack on women in general. Accordingly, she maintains that the term "TERF" is not merely a slur, but actual hate speech, citing an example of violence and instances of people calling for violence against TERFs. These claims are comparable to those from the far-right declaring "homophobe" or "misogynist" to be slurs or hate speech, which are similarly accompanied by anecdotal evidence. In addition, Murphy skips over examples of violence threatened, abetted or committed by TERFs against transgender people.
To be clear, we at RationalWiki do not condone violence (or calls to violence) against anyone, whether TERF, homophobe or misogynist.
Murphy also holds sex-worker-exclusionary (SWERF) positions, as do several of her fellow Feminist Current writers, seeing prostitutes and other sex workers invariably as both exploited victims and enablers of the patriarchy.
On a related note, in 2015, Murphy described transgender actress Laverne Cox's nude photo shot for the magazine Allure as a "sexualized object" and "defined by patriarchal/porn culture", prompting a Change.org petition by a sex workers' lobby group which accused her of both transphobia and racism and called for rabble.ca to cut ties with her, although the petition was ultimately rejected.
Vancouver Public Library held a talk by Murphy, which led to them being banned from Vancouver Pride, with the Vancouver Pride Society's statement explaining that "...this is due to their decision to provide a platform for discriminatory, transphobic speech."
Toronto Public Library also garnered huge controversy for allowing Murphy to rent space from them, in view of the following excerpt from their rental policy:
The Library reserves the right to deny or cancel a booking when it reasonably believes:
i. use by any individual or group will be for a purpose that is likely to promote, or would have the effect of promoting discrimination, contempt or hatred for any group or person on the basis of race, ethnic origin, place of origin, citizenship, colour, ancestry, language, creed (religion), age, sex, gender identity...
The librarian defended the decision to support Murphy under the justifications of free speech and Murphy's never having been convicted of hate speech in a court of law. The decision drew widespread condemnation from Canada's LGBT community. The talk was widely protested and Toronto Pride said that they may ban the library from future Pride events.
- TERFs Don’t Have a Right to Be Transphobic on Twitter, Court Rules
- Graduate Alumni. MA – Course Based. Simon Fraser University.
- Burns, Katelyn. The Issue with Meghan Murphy’s Gender Class Analysis. Medium.
- Murphy, Meghan. If trans activists truly cared about feminism, they would respect women’s spaces. Feminist Current.
- Rampell, Catherine. Before That Sex Change, Think About Your Next Paycheck
- Stotzer, Rebecca L. (2009). Violence against transgender people: A review of United States data. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 14, pp. 170-179.
- Cursed E. A response to Feminist Current. Medium.
- Foresta, Matthew. Being Freaked Out by Gay and Trans People Is Still a Legal Murder Defense in 48 States. Vice.com.
- Gallagher, Annie. Response to Meghan Murphy: If Gender Critical Feminists Truly Cared About Empathy, They’d Show the Same to Trans People. guardianacorn.com.
- Twitter-ban feminist defends transgender views ahead of Holyrood meeting. BBC News.
- Fry, Madeline. This journalist lost her lawsuit against Twitter for banning her account, but she's not giving up. Washington Examiner, July 10, 2019.
- Murphy, Meghan. GLAMOUR columnist Juno Dawson attacks feminists under the guise of ‘feminism’. Feminist Current.
- Murphy, Meghan. ‘TERF’ isn’t just a slur, it’s hate speech. Feminist Current.
- Williams, Cristan. Into the nexus of the ‘gay alt-right feminist’ movement. TransAdvocate.
- Williams, Cristan. TERF hate and Sandy Stone. TransAdvocate.
- Williams, Cristan. That time TERFs beat RadFems for protecting a trans woman from their assault. TransAdvocate.
- Williams, Cristan. Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival: The historic RadFem vs TERF vs Trans fight. The TERFs.
- Williams, Cristan. How TERF violence inspired Camp Trans. TransAdvocate.
- Natacha. http://uncommon-scents.blogspot.com/2017/10/reports-of-rad-fem-violently-attacking.html Reports of a rad fem violently attacking non-trans woman in vendetta against trans people. UnCommon Sense.
- Murphy, Meghan. ‘Everybody’s doing it!’ and other bad arguments in defense of prostitution. Feminist Current, December 9, 2016.
- Murphy, Meghan. Why does the left want prostitution to be 'a job like any other'? Feminist Current, November 7, 2011.
- Ditum, Sarah. Who do you listen to? On 'listening to sex workers'. Feminist Current, February 25, 2014.
- Berg, Samantha. Prostitution is not work: The crib sheet. Feminist Current, December 17, 2018.
- Murphy, Meghan. Laverne Cox’s objectified body ’empowers’ no one. Feminist Current.
- Statement on review of Meghan Murphy petitions. rabble.ca.
- Vancouver Public Library banned from Pride Parade. Vancouver Courier, July 23, 2019.
- VPS Statement On VPLs Entry In The 2019 Pride Parade. Vancouver Pride Society, July 23, 2019.
- Community and Event Space Rental. Toronto Public Library.
- City Librarian Statement on Upcoming Third-Party Room Rental Event. Toronto Public Library, October 15, 2019.
- Toronto Public Library facing Pride ban over Meghan Murphy event. Now Toronto, October 18, 2019.