Greer was asked about her views on trans people, at first apologising but then saying it "wasn't fair" for them to decide their gender.
Germaine Greer has apologised for her recent statements on transgender people, acknowledging that her views were “wrong” – before going on to spark another furore by re-stating those previous views.
The groundbreaking feminist thinker Greer, 77, was responding to a question-and-answer session on an ABC television panel show on Monday night (April 11th). A journalist named Steph D’Souza had introduced herself as a former fan and asked her: “Why do you believe there is such a thing as a real woman?”
“This is so difficult,” Greer began her answer, referring back to her comments in 2015 about transgender women ‘not being real women’ that had caused a petition by Cardiff University students to prevent her from speaking there.
Germaine Greer sparked more controversy by backtracking on, then apparently re-stating, her views on transgender individuals
“I agree that when I first was thinking about what is a woman I fell for the usual view that women were people with two Xs and men were people with an X and a Y, which made life nice and easy for me. And I now realise, partly because I’m not entirely immune to information, that this was wrong.”
Greer, the author of 1970 book ‘The Female Eunuch’, then re-ignited the former controversy by arguing that it “wasn’t fair” that “a man who has lived for 40 years as a man and had children with a woman and enjoyed the services – the unpaid services of a wife, which most women will never know… then decides that the whole time he’s been a woman.”
Viewers of the televised debate reacted on social media by accusing Greer of transphobia – a word she previously joked did not exist.
When you think Germaine Greer is about to backtrack on her transphobia, and then she takes it back up to an 11. #qanda— Tim Christodoulou (@tim_chr) April 11, 2016
The programme’s host Tony Jones remarked after she had finished: “At the beginning of your answer I thought you were digging yourself out of the hole and now I wonder if you’ve just shovelled it back in.”
“I belong in this hole,” Greer responded, arguing that people should be allowed to live outside of the gender binary, as long as they didn’t attempt to become the opposite sex. “If you’re a 50-year-old truck driver who’s had four children with a wife and you’ve decided the whole time you’ve been a woman, I think you’re probably wrong.”