Germaine Greer: “Transgender women seem to us ghastly parodies. Being trans is a delusion”. WTF?
Today I had other plans for what I wanted to blog about but then the topic of Germaine Greer’s comments about Transgender women raised its ugly head and here we are.
She has claimed that she thinks transgender women are not women. She also states that a great many women who are not transgender believe that transgender women do not look like, sound like or behave like women. I’m not sure how many she means by “A great many women” or what form of evidence she has to back this up but I assume she is referring to her own personal anecdotal experiences, if at all.
I didn’t realise that feminism was all about having to look like, sound like or behave like women, nor did I realise that there was a standardised form of these three expectations. I naively assumed that feminism was all about women being free to look, sound and behave as they wished. Otherwise, at what point do women get kicked out of this club? Are Tomboys excluded? Are women with shaved heads no longer invited to Tupperware parties? Do women who know how to change the oil in their car get taken off the women’s mailing list?
Don’t transgender men and women get enough abuse and discrimination from the general public without people like Germaine, who has such easy access to the media, joining in? Don’t transgender women feel uncomfortable enough in their own skin sometimes without people like her trying to state quite clearly that they’re merely ‘pretending’ to be women because they’ve never had (in her words) “a big, hairy, smelly vagina”? Sure, so then, following this logic, perhaps people born with missing limbs are trying to pretend they’re something they’re not when they wear prosthetics? People who are wheelchair users weren’t born with wheels so who are they fooling? And what’s with patients who wear wigs when they no longer have hair due to having cancer, who do they think they are, eh?
And the fact is, regardless of all this, that I actually defend her right to have such an opinion. I think that people should be allowed to have their own opinions but I also retain the right to absolutely challenge such opinions. I believe in the fundamental rights to freedom of speech but I think that such pointless comments must be thought through thoroughly before being loaded up and fired into the public domain. If it’s going to cause offense, if it’s going to cause upset…and it’s not actually going to change anything, it’s not actually serving any purpose in the world other than to upset people then…really, are such comments necessary?
I do also feel that she was being very patronising when she said she would be prepared to use female pronouns “as a courtesy” when referring to someone who was transgender, if that was their preference.
I’m not trying to pretend that I’m an expert on Transgender men or women and I’m not an expert in feminism either but I do know how people feel when they are excluded by others and I have met enough people and read enough personal accounts to know how much it can affect them on a very personal and damaging level. It always disappoints me then when people who profess to fight for equality, better ‘tolerance’ and acceptance say such negative things about another group of people that want nothing more themselves than to just be accepted.
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