A well known feminist author has backed out of speaking at a university after receiving abuse from students for stating that men who undergo a sex change operation are not women.
Germaine Greer was invited to give a lecture on women’s rights at Cardiff University.
But some students wrote to the university and started a petition saying that her views have “no place in feminism”.
Speaking to the BBC, Greer said that when men have a sex change operation it “doesn’t make them a woman”.
She said: “I’ve been accused of inciting violence against transsexual people. That’s absolute nonsense.”
The author added that she believes a “great many women” don’t think that “post-operative or even non post-operative” transsexual men “look like, sound like or behave like women. But they daren’t say so”.
Later in the interview, Greer said she would not go to speak even if the petition failed: “I’m getting a bit old for all this, I’m 76. I don’t want to go down there and be screamed at and have things thrown at me.”
Some students wrote to the university to express “disgust” that the author, seen by some as a great advocate for women’s rights, was invited to give a talk.
Payton Quinn, a stand-up comic who claims to be neither male or female but ‘gender-fluid’, said that Greer has “always expressed extremely transphobic attitudes”.
Quinn thought it was “just unacceptable” that Greer once turned down a transsexual man who wanted to be admitted to her women’s college at Cambridge University.
Earlier this month, the University of Manchester Students’ Union came under fire for banning feminist activist Julie Bindel from a free speech event. The union said her views and comments towards transsexual people “could incite hatred towards and exclusion of our trans students”.
In an article for The Guardian in 2004, Bindel questioned the right of men who have sex-change surgery to be treated as women.
Bindel responded to the decision on Twitter: “So my latest ban shows without doubt that I am not allowed to speak on ANY topic at all at these Unis because I am accused of transphobia”.
“Therefore I am banned from speaking about feminism, sexuality, male violence, everything in fact that I am expert in. It is my presence that is considered so offensive as to make students feel ‘unsafe’ when I spend my life trying to make it safer for women and girls. Fab.”