Germaine Greer (Pic: Walnut whippet)
Internationally renowned feminist Germaine Greer has upped the ante in defending her controversial view that transgender women are not “real” women.
Greer, 76, wrote the iconic book The Female Eunuch (1970) and is recognised as one of the major voices in the feminist movement in the latter part of the 20th century.
She, however, has been criticised for her rejection of the idea that pre or post-operative transgender women should be viewed as women, insisting that this can only apply to women who are born with female organs.
Greer has even claimed that Caitlyn Jenner transitioned so that she could compete against the Kardashian clan for media attention.
Her views have seen her increasingly fall out of favour in many academic circles and a petition was recently launched against her speaking at Cardiff University; an event that Greer eventually pulled out of, citing fears for her safety.
Speaking on BBC2’s Newsnight last week, Greer defended her views: “I’m not saying that people should not be allowed to go through that procedure [sex affirmation surgery], all I’m saying is that it doesn’t make them a woman. It happens to be an opinion. It’s not a prohibition.”
She has also stated that while she will use female pronouns when referring to a transgender woman if requested to, she would only do this “as a courtesy.”
Following another backlash against the comments, the Australian-born author issued a scathing statement to the BBC’s VictoriaLIVE show on Monday.
“Just because you lop off your dick and then wear a dress doesn’t make you a fucking woman,” she said.
“I’ve asked my doctor to give me long ears and liver spots and I’m going to wear a brown coat but that doesn’t turn me into a fucking cocker spaniel.
“I do understand that some people are born intersex and they deserve support in coming to terms with their gender but it’s not the same thing. A man who gets his dick chopped off is actually inflicting an extraordinary act of violence on himself,” Greer insisted.
Her views have stirred up a huge debate around freedom of expression with Greer claiming that activists, students and academics are trying to restrict her from speaking her mind.
“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,” she said.
Evolutionary author and academic Richard Dawkins has defended Greer’s right to address students and academics.
“Those who think it’s nonsense are entitled to stay away. Or come and argue. They should not censor views they think are nonsense,” he said on Twitter.
Dawkins added: “A university is not a ‘safe space’. If you need a safe space, leave, go home, hug your teddy & suck your thumb until ready for university.”
Writing in The Telegraph, Kaite Welsh described Greer as a hypocritical and out of touch “dinosaur” who believes that she is “absolved of having to take on board new ideas.”
She continued: “It’s a shame when a once vibrant, exciting voice starts to sound an awful lot like the people she wanted to replace. From revolutionary to oppressor, it’s a well-trodden journey.”