VANCOUVER -- After much deliberation, the board of the Vancouver Public Library has decided to approve an upcoming event featuring controversial feminist speaker Meghan Murphy.

Murphy's views on transgender women – who she commonly refers to as "males" – drew dozens of protesters to her last event at the library's central branch back in January 2019, and the ensuing complaints led the board to implement a new policy on renting out rooms and facilities.

That policy prohibits events that promote hate speech or violate B.C.'s Human Rights Code, which has contained specific protections for transgender people since 2016.

On Monday, after weeks of deliberation and a "pre-screening and risk assessment" process, the library announced it would allow the event to go ahead as planned on March 21.

A statement from chief librarian Christina de Castell stressed the VPL's support for transgender rights, but said the pre-screening concluded Murphy's event "would likely not involve any breach of the BC Human Rights Code or Criminal Code."

"After a difficult and emotional discussion, a majority of the board decided to accept the rental request. As with other room rentals, acceptance of this rental request does not mean that the board endorses or agrees with the positions of the group or individuals using our space," de Castell wrote.

The chief librarian also said the board had received legal advice at a meeting last week.

"While many called on the Library Board to reject the rental request due to the opinions expressed by the room rental applicant and some of its speakers, as a public body VPL is expected to act in accordance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which includes the right to freedom of expression subject only to limits recognized at law," she wrote.

"VPL recognizes the importance of freedom of expression as a core principle of democracy, and identifies it as an organizational value."

Murphy's views include the belief that trans women should be excluded from some programs and spaces shared by cisgender women. Trans activist and organizer Morgane Oger has argued the VPL would never consider renting space to an event where people made the same arguments about a different vulnerable population.

"They would never allow it, but they allow this," Oger told CTV News this month. "I think that's appalling."

Oger also suggested she would consider a Charter case against the city, which she argued has a duty to prevent the spread of discriminatory views at its venues and meeting places.

For her part, Murphy has insisted none of the discussions that take place at her events are harmful or hateful.

In her statement explaining the library board's decision, de Castell also highlighted some of the ways the VPL supports transgender staff and members. People are encouraged to use the washrooms that align with their gender identity, and are recognized by their chosen names on library cards and employee identification.

But the chief librarian also acknowledged the decision to approve another Murphy event has "caused a loss of trust" for some in the LGBTQ community.

"We hope to continue to work with these communities to promote dialogue and raise marginalized voices through our programs and services, and we continue to welcome ideas for ways to do this within the current policy and legal environment," she said.