Speaking on the Australian debate show ‘Q and A’ well known trans-exclusionary feminist Germaine Greer made yet more controversial comments about the existence of transgender women, and made claims that it is wrong for lesbian relationships with trans women to exist.
One of the members of the audience, Steph D’Souza, asked Greer why she believed that transgender women are not ‘real women’, stating that she had previously drawn strength from the writer’s work but has found her opinions of trans women to be troubling. She pointed out to Greer that her belief in a ‘real woman’ is the same kind of essentialism that she once spoke out against.
When she responded it at first looked like she might be reversing her opinions on the transgender community.
‘When I first was thinking about what is a woman, I fell for the usual view that women were people with two Xs and men were people with an X and a Y, which made life nice and easy for me. I now realise that I was wrong.’
Rather than saying that she believes that transgender people exist, she went on to talk about intersex people. Highlighting the existence of people who are intersex and understanding the struggles that they face is important, and Greer seems to understand that. However, it was not long before she turned the conversation towards trans bashing once again.
‘If you decide that you are uncomfortable in a masculine system which turns boys into men, often at great cost to themselves, if you are unhappy with that it doesn’t mean that you belong at the other end of the spectrum,’
When asked about the fact that transgender people knowing that they have been born the wrong sex Greer replied, ‘But you can’t know that. You don’t know what the other sex is.’
One of her fellow panelists responded to her comment, saying that trans people know and feel that they were born into the wrong body, which was met with Greer pulling faces and rolling her eyes.
Greer went on to say that belief in an idea is not the same as knowing something, before adding, ‘Women are constantly being told that they are not satisfactory as women, that other people make better women than they do. The woman of the year may be Caitlyn Jenner, which makes the rest of the female population of the world feel slightly wry.’
‘I don’t believe that a man who has lived for forty years as a man, and has had children with a woman, and has enjoyed the unpaid services of a wife that most women will never know, then decides that the whole time he’s been a woman and at that point I’d like to say hang on a minute, you believed you were a woman but you married another woman and that wasn’t fair was it?’
Whilst it is unsurprising that Greer is once again openly bashing transgender women, from questioning our very existence by saying you cannot know if you are the wrong sex, to saying she would openly disbelieve someone saying their trans there is one thing about her comments that did take me by surprise. Her feeling it’s not fair for trans women to marry cis women.
One of the arguments I often see between members of the transgender community and trans-exclusionary feminists is the idea that trans lesbians do not exist, and cis women in relationships with trans women should not call themselves lesbians either. It would appear that Greer feels the same way too, or perhaps has a problem with lesbian marriage as a whole.
It’s interesting that throughout all of this though, that she never once commented on the question of whether she was acting in the same way as people who once dictated what women should be. The fact that she continually demands women conform to some kind of biology that not all women do, or that they should behave or act certain ways indicates that she believes she has some kind of right to tell women what ‘real women’ are.
At one time Germaine Greer might have been a good feminist force working towards the betterment of all women, but it is becoming clearer that those days have passed her by, that her views and opinions are outdated and unpopular, and that even those who once saw her in high regard are starting to see her in a less than favourable light. Perhaps it’s time that Ms Greer shut up about trans women and went away before she loses what little respect some people still have for her.