Queer Avengers leaflet: Germaine Greer’s transphobia, a “ghastly parody” of women’s liberation

Germaine Greer has a decades-long history of fighting for her vision of women’s liberation. She also has a decades-long history of attacking transfolk, targeting particular venom at transwomen even in recent years.

In 1972, Greer was arrested in this country for using the word “bullshit.” We’re here to say that transphobia is bullshit.

‘Outing’ transwomen

Over the 1980s and 1990s, Germaine Greer participated in a witch-hunt against transwomen in prominent positions.

In 1996, Greer outed Rachel Padman, a physicist at an all-women college at Cambridge University. She stated that the “dignity of this college is marred by this unfortunate event.” Greer apparently had no interest in the dignity of Rachel Padman, who survived Greer’s repeated tabloid attacks and retained her position at Cambridge.

Refusing imposed roles

Greer treats gender variance as a threat to women’s liberation, stating in her book The Whole Woman that by respecting the right to self-identify, a woman “weakens her claim to have a sex of her own.”

Any vision of liberation that doesn’t respect the right to self-identify, to refuse imposed gender roles, will simply reproduce oppression. We need to support liberation for all women, for all people, for the right to refuse all imposed roles.

Transphobia in the 21st Century

As transfolk have become increasingly organised and developed a louder collective voice, many feminists dropped the overt transphobia. However Greer continues to insist on the importance of transphobia to women’s liberation.

Caster Semenya, whose gender has been called into question.

In a 2009 article on Caster Semenya, a particularly “blokish” sportswoman, Greer took the opportunity to take a swipe at transwomen:

Nowadays we are all likely to meet people who think they are women, have women’s names, and feminine clothes and lots of eyeshadow, who seem to us to be some kind of ghastly parody, though it isn’t polite to say so.

By stubbornly continuing to attack women on the trans spectrum, Greer herself has become a “ghastly parody” of women’s liberation. Any liberation movement that limits itself to cis-women will not progress.

The Queer Avengers is holding two events on transphobia and alternatives in the immediate future:

Queer Avengers Discussion Group: Gender Trouble
What is the difference between sex and gender?
What is the relationship between imposed gender roles and gender identity/expression?
How can we fight imposed gender roles, and why is it important?
TONIGHT (Wednesday March 14th) 7pm Anvil House

Press conference on media coverage of gender variance
TOMORROW (Thursday March 15th) 4:30pm Anvil House

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