Cardiff University has rejected a demand that it withdraw an invitation for Germaine Greer to give a lecture on campus next week. Greer is best known as author of The Female Eunuch, a classic of feminist thinking. But as a petition urging the university to call off the Greer lecture notes, she has made statements questioning whether transgender women should be considered women, and has raised questions about the motivations of transgender people.
“Greer has demonstrated time and time again her misogynistic views towards trans women, including continually misgendering trans women and denying the existence of transphobia altogether,” says the petition. “While debate in a university should be encouraged, hosting a speaker with such problematic and hateful views towards marginalized and vulnerable groups is dangerous. Allowing Greer a platform endorses her views, and by extension, the transmisogyny which she continues to perpetuate.”
Colin Riordan, vice chancellor at Cardiff, issued a statement that expressed support for transgender and all students, but in which he defended going ahead with the lecture. “We are committed to freedom of speech and open debate,” he said. “Our events include speakers with a range of views, all of which are rigorously challenged and debated. This event will be no different.”
In an interview with The Guardian, Greer stood behind her statements about transgender people, saying, “What they are saying is that because I don’t think surgery will turn a man into a woman I should not be allowed to speak anywhere.” She also said she would not make the speech unless the university can assure that she “will not have things thrown” at her.
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