A transgender poet who rallied against radical feminist Meghan Murphy’s right to freedom of speech is now under fire from her own community for allegedly fabricating her Indigenous ancestry.
Gwen Benaway is a Governor General’s award-winning poet whose writing has been featured in MacLean’s and The Globe and Mail. In 2019, Benaway protested against Meghan Murphy, who was doing a speaking tour at various libraries on subjects critical to trans ideology. Benaway claimed Murphy was directing “hate” at the trans community for questioning the logic of biological males entering women’s sports and spaces.
Benaway also rallied against freedom of speech, stating in a Global News interview that, “the free speech thing takes us away from what’s actually going on — it’s that these events really do organize and coordinate active harassment campaigns against trans folk in public life.”
But while Benaway was championed as a progressive activist, she is now under fire from her allies for allegedly fabricating her ties to the Indigenous community.
In an open letter published by five Indigenous authors and poets, Benaway’s history of claiming Indigenous heritage is called into question, with the writers creating a timeline of the differing contradicting and differing claims Benaway had made about her heritage.
The Indigenous writers state that Benaway has changed her alleged Indigenous ties on 10 different occasions, providing quotes and dates for reference dating to 2006.
Benaway has claimed to be a leader from Bkejwanong (Walpole Island), Odawa, Metis, Anglo-Metis, Cherokee, and Anishinaabe – sometimes separated, but sometimes multiple different identities in a single biography. As of June 22, on her own Wikipedia page she is introduced as “an Anishinaabe and Metis poet and activist.”
The writers also claim they spoke to a source from within Benaway’s family who states she has no Indigenous ancestry at all, on either side of her family.
Gwen Benaway has not responded to the call for clarification or apology from the Indigenous writers. And as of today, her Twitter appears to have been deleted.