Germaine Greer restates her views on transgender people

Dr Germaine Greer appeared on ‘Q&A’ last night and restated her view that transgender women are not real women.

Germaine Greer

Feminist author Germaine Greer appeared on the ABC’s ‘Q&A’ last night and responded to an audience members question about her views on transgender people.

Journalist Steph D’Souza said she used to be a fan of Dr Greer’s writing but had found her views on transgender people confusing.

“I find really confusing, views you’ve expressed that transgender women are not real women, why do you believe there’s such a thing as a real woman? Isn’t that the kind of essentialism that you and I are trying to escape?” D’Souza asked.

“This is so difficult,” Dr Greer responded. “I agree that when I was first thinking about what is a woman, I took the usual view that women are people with two XX’s and men were people with an X and a Y. Which made life nice and easy for me. I now realise, partly because I’m not entirely immune to information, that this was wrong.

The author said she had learned more and now recognised intersex people did not fit into that binary thinking.

“In fact there are all kinds of intersexual conditions and there are various ways that genes are expressed in behaviour and development. I now realise that having two sexes is essentialist as you may say, but it’s not even that, it’s just wrong.”

The author said she recognised people who were born with a biological condition but not those who declared themselves to be transgender,

“The interesting thing is this, if you decide your not comfortable in the masculine system, that runs boys into men often at great cost to themselves – if you’re unhappy with that it doesn’t mean that you belong at the other end of the spectrum.

Host Tony Jones asked Dr Greer; “What if you know you were born with the wrong sex?”

Dr Greer said people can’t know that they were born the wrong sex because they don’t know what the other sex is. The author went on to  say that praising and awarding transgender women, and recognising them as women, affected biological women.

“Women are constantly being told that they are not satisfactory as women, and that other people make better women than they do” Greer said. “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 had children with a woman, and enjoyed the unpaid services of a wife – which most women will never know – and he then decides that the whole time he’s been a woman.

“At that point I’d like to say ‘Hang on, you believed you were a woman but you married another woman, that wasn’t fair – was it?'” Dr Greer said.

Host Tony Jones interjected and said he thought at the start of Dr Greer’s answer she was digging herself out of a hole, but she seemed to be digging deeper. Dr Greer answered; “I belong in this hole.”

Liberal MP Dr Sharman Stone said that many societies recognised a wide spectrum of sexuality and gender identity.

“We’ve got to treat the individual with utmost respect and recognise where they feel they below in whatever sex or transsexualy [sic] they must not experience any discrimination, they must have protection in the law.”  Dr Stone said.  Dr Stone said she recognised transgender women as women.

Dr Greer restated her opinion that intersex people should be recognised in the gender of their choosing but she did not recognise transgender people in their identified gender.

“If you’re a 50 year old truck driver whose had four children with a wife and then decided that the whole time you’ve been  a woman – I think you’re probably wrong.” Dr Greer said.

Check out the episode at the ‘Q&A’ website.

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