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Protesters gather at gender identity speaker’s talk despite location switch

Writer Meghan Murphy laughs while flanked by security before speaking during a panel discussion on gender identity in Vancouver, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. .
Writer Meghan Murphy laughs while flanked by security before speaking during a panel discussion on gender identity in Vancouver, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Dozens of protesters gathered outside the venue of a panel discussion on gender and sexuality — the location of which was kept secret until shortly before the event due to security concerns.

Police stood in front of the doors of the Pan Pacific Vancouver hotel where the talk took place in an event space and prevented a group of peaceful protesters from entering.

READ MORE: B.C. event featuring Meghan Murphy moved to new venue over security concern

They chanted, played music and held up signs — sometimes making noise loud enough to be heard three floors up when the event doors would open.

Some protesters carried signs proclaiming that “Trans rights are human rights” and “Trans women are women.”

Protests over planned appearance of self-proclaimed ‘feminist’
Protests over planned appearance of self-proclaimed ‘feminist’

The event was originally scheduled to take place at Simon Fraser University, but was moved after the senior director of campus security said there was a high safety concern.

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The talk included Meghan Murphy, a freelance writer who opposes trans rights, saying they threaten the rights of cisgender women.

Her talk at a Toronto library at the end of October drew several hundred protesters, and the Toronto Public Library faced intense criticism for booking the room to the hosts.

READ MORE: Hundreds protest controversial Toronto library event featuring Meghan Murphy

Ticketholders to the Vancouver event learned of the new location at the Pan Pacific Vancouver hotel in an email.

The message assured attendees that a combination of hotel and the event’s security, as well as a police presence “will make this a safe event.”

Meghan Murphy draws hundreds of protestors at Toronto appearance
Meghan Murphy draws hundreds of protestors at Toronto appearance

Temporary gates were erected to prevent unauthorized access to the space, while several police officers and private security workers were on hand. They checked the bags of people allowed in.

Inside, the event went mostly undisturbed. After the talk concluded, attendees were escorted through a different exit in an effort to avoid protesters.