Germaine Greer was one of the leading feminist thinkers in the late 1960s/early 1970s. Her book, The Female Eunuch, was an international bestseller and is considered by many to be one of the cornerstone texts of feminism. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that Greer has some views on transgender women that have landed her in hot water.
Greer, now 76, said on the BBC program Newsnight that she doesn’t consider transgender women to be women. She refers to them as “male to female transgender people.” Greer goes on to say that she doesn’t object to men going through gender reassignment surgery, but she insists that the change doesn’t make a man a woman. She also says that many non-transgender women do not believe that transgender women “look like, sound like or behave like women.”
Because of Greer’s comments, a student group at Cardiff University in Wales, has petitioned the college to cancel a lecture Greer is scheduled to give. The petition, which can be found at Change.org, was started by a student named Rachel Melhuish, and says that Greer has:
Demonstrated misogynistic views towards trans women, including continually misgendering trans women and denying the existence of transphobia altogether.
I don’t really know what I think of it. It strikes me as a bit of a put-up job really because I am not even going to talk about the issue that they are on about. What they are saying is that because I don’t think surgery will turn a man into a woman I should not be allowed to speak anywhere.
I do not know why universities cannot hear unpopular views and think about what they mean.
While there has been no response so far from anti-LGBT groups in the U.S., don’t be surprised to see them using Greer’s comments in defense of their position that transgender women should not be allowed to use female restrooms and locker rooms. Currently the fight for LGBT rights in the U.S. is centered in Houston, where voters will be asked to approve a non-discrimination ordinance for the city in the November 3 election.
Here are Greer’s comments on transgender women, via the BBC:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7B8Q6D4a6TM?rel=0]
Featured image via BBC News screen capture