Feminist Germaine Greer: Transgender Surgery Does Not Make a Man a Woman

By Michael W. Chapman | September 6, 2017 | 1:06pm EDT

Feminist author and academic

Germaine Greer. (YouTube)

Feminist icon Germaine Greer, author of the best-selling The Female Eunuch and other works, has been pilloried by her fellow leftists and some journalists because she does not believe that transgender surgery turns men into women and, as she told the BBC, the sex-reassignment procedure has been "a disaster" in some cases.

"What I'm saying is it doesn't make them a woman," said Greer about sex-reassignment surgery during an interview with BBC Newsnight, hosted by Kirsty Wark. "And apparently people have decided that because I don't think that post-operative transgender men, i.e., M-to-F transgender people, are women, I'm not to be allowed to talk.”

Greer also explained that she did not care if some people were offended by her views because "people get hurt all the time" and "I'm not about to walk on eggshells."

Greer holds degrees from the University of Melbourne, the University of Sydney, and a PhD from Newnham College in Cambridge, England. She has held several academic positions over the years at Newnham College and at the University of Warwick. She is the author (or co-author) of 20 books. In 2016, Greer was named on the Woman's Hour Power List as one of seven women to have had the greatest impact on women's lives over the last 70 years -- the list also included Margaret Thatcher, Barbara Castle, Bridget Jones, and Beyonce.

During the BBC interview, host Kirsty Wark commented on how some students and academics were opposed to Greer speaking at Cardiff University in Wales back in 2015. 

Greer said, “I was going to talk about women in power, the lessons of the 20th century because I think there’s a lot of triumphalist talk that masks the real historic situation. And apparently people have decided that because I don't think that post-operative transgender men, i.e. M-to-F transgender people, are women, I'm not to be allowed to talk.”

Wark then said, “But surely you’ve heard a man who feels that he would like gender reassignment to make him/her feel more comfortable in her body, then that’s what should be done and they should be allowed to do that.”

Greer replied, “I'm not saying that people should not be allowed to go through that procedure. What I'm saying is it doesn't make them a woman. It happens to be an opinion. It's not a prohibition. Carry on, if that's what you think it is you want to do. I've been accused of inciting violence against transexual people. That's absolute nonsense.”

She further said, "I think that a great many women don’t think post-operative, or even non-post-operative transsexual, M-to-F, transsexual people sound like or behave like women. But they dare not say so.... Not everybody does feel comfortable, by the way, post-operatively. There have been a couple of case, I found very interesting, where the actual acceptor of the procedure has felt that it’s been a disaster.”

Wark said, “But for those who do not feel it’s been a disaster and feel more comfortable, then do you understand how they might feel you’ve been hurtful to them?”

“People are hurtful to me all the time," said Greer. "Try being an old woman, I mean, for goodness sake. People get hurt all the time. I'm not about to walk on eggshells.”

Commenting further on sex-reassignment surgery, Greer said "it’s also a problem if what you have to do after gender reassignment is use steroids every day of your life. That’s not a happy outcome either.”

When Wark replied, “But it may be a happy outcome for them and they may feel that you are, in a way, denigrating them for taking that route," Greer said,  “Oh, don’t even talk about them. They’re not my issue. I haven’t published anything about transgender for years.”


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