“Petition urges Cardiff University to cancel Germaine Greer lecture”

An online petition has been launched seeking to prevent Germaine Greer from giving a lecture at Cardiff University, claiming her views are “problematic” for transgender people.

The petition on Change.org was started by Rachael Melhuish, women’s officer at the university’s students’ union, and alleges that Greer has “demonstrated misogynistic views towards trans women, including continually misgendering trans women and denying the existence of transphobia altogether”.

The Australian writer is due to speak on 18 November in a lecture called Women & Power: The Lessons of the 20th Century.

Asked about the petition, Greer told the Guardian: “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.”

Greer said that she did not understand the mindset of those who had signed the petition, adding: “I do not know why universities cannot hear unpopular views and think about what they mean.”

The author compared the recent growth of campaigns against speakers as a result of their views on transgender issues to the “Father 4 Justice” movement, which ran a high-profile campaign for improved rights for men denied access to their children.

“They were a right pain in the arse and they did not do their cause any good at all. This is very like that.”

The university, which has invited Greer to deliver the address for the eighth in a series of annual lectures, insisted on Friday that the event would go ahead.

The petition urging the university to cancel the event had been signed by more than 300 people by early Friday afternoon. The university has more than 30,000 students.


The university’s vice-chancellor, Prof Colin Riordan, said that it was committed to freedom of speech and open debate. “Our events include speakers with a range of views, all of which are rigorously challenged and debated,” he said.

“This event will be no different. Our commitment to our LGBT+ students and staff members is unwavering and we fully recognise the tremendous benefits of having such a diverse community brings to Cardiff University.

“At Cardiff University we work hard to provide a positive and welcoming space for LGBT+ people and we are in consultation with student and staff groups to ensure that the views of LGBT+ people are represented at our events. We in no way condone discriminatory comments of any kind.”

Greer said that she had seen the university’s statement, which she said was “as weak as piss”.

“If the University of Cardiff cannot guarantee that I will not have things thrown at me then I won’t go there. I can’t be bothered.”

Of her critics, she added: “They think that they are entitled to throw things at me, and then they say that I am inciting violence against transexuals. I have never incited anyone to violence against anyone. I am just fed up with it all. It’s all just froth.”

“I don’t expect people to agree with me. On the other hand I don’t expect them to throw things at me and in the past, in New Zealand I have had things thrown at me and in the end it’s just an internet campaign, which is virtual rather than real.”

She continued: “I just don’t think that surgery turns a man into a woman. A perfectly permissable view. I mean, an un-man is not necessarily a woman. We don’t really know what women are and I think that a lot of women are female impersonators, because our notion of who we are is not authentic, and so I am not surprised men are better at impersonating women than women are. Not a surprise, but it’s not something I welcome.”

No examples of Greer’s alleged positions on transgender people were cited by the petition.

Full article here

One response

  1. Germaine Greer has accused sex-change TV star Caitlyn Jenner of stealing the limelight from the female members of the Kardashian family, in comments likely to further alienate campaigners who object to the writer and commentator’s views about transsexuals.

    The Australian-born feminist courted controversy in an interview with BBC2’s Newsnight by claiming that “misogyny played a big part” in the rumoured decision by Glamour magazine to give Jenner its woman of the year award.

    Jenner, who was born Bruce, was married to Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian’s mother, until they filed for divorce early last year.

    She also refused to back down from her position that transsexual women, who have begun life as men before undergoing surgery and hormone treatment to become women, are “not women”, saying they do not “look like, sound like or behave like women”.

    Greer was speaking after it emerged that an online petition had been launched seeking to prevent her giving a lecture at Cardiff University. The organisers claimed her views were “problematic” for transgender people.

    Asked to address the issue of Jenner being tipped for woman of the year, as reported earlier this week, Greer said: “I think misogyny plays a really big part in all of this, that a man who goes to these lengths to become a woman will be a better woman than someone who is just born a woman.”

    “It seems to me that what was going on there was that he/she wanted the limelight that the other, female, members of the family were enjoying and has conquered it, just like that,” she added, snapping her fingers.


    Addressing claims that she had been hurtful towards transgender women, Greer added: “People are being hurtful to me all the time. Try being an old woman. For goodness sake, people get hurt all the time. I’m not about to walk on eggshells.”


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