Another feminist intellectual finds herself in the crosshairs of the safe-spacers: Germaine Greer, a feminist academic and author, is scheduled to give a lecture at Cardiff University in Wales next month, but students are circulating a petition demanding the cancellation of the talk.
That’s because Greer, a self-proclaimed Marxist anarchist who opposes hierarchy and capitalism, is nevertheless out of step with the modern left on transgender issues: she does not recognize “men who believe that they are women and have had themselves castrated to prove it” as women, according to her 1999 book, The Whole Woman.
I don’t share these sentiments about the transgender community, though I would relish the opportunity to have my own views on the subject challenged by someone as knowledgeable as Greer. Leftist Cardiff students, on the other hand, couldn’t care less—their minds are already made up on the subject, and anyone who dares to disagree should be chased of campus by a pitchfork-wielding mob.
The petition, which urges Cardiff to disinvite Greer, labels her views “problematic and hateful” and maintains that her mere presence on campus would be “dangerous”:
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.
Trans-exclusionary views should have no place in feminism or society. Such attitudes contribute to the high levels of stigma, hatred and violence towards trans people - particularly trans women - both in the UK and across the world.
While debate in a University should be encouraged, hosting a speaker with such problematic and hateful views towards marginalised and vulnerable groups is dangerous. Allowing Greer a platform endorses her views, and by extension, the transmisogyny which she continues to perpetuate.
Universities should prioritise the voices of the most vulnerable on their campuses, not invite speakers who seek to further marginalise them.
On the contrary, speakers who provoke discussion and upset the dominant way of thinking about an issue are exactly the kinds of people worth bringing to campus. As Spiked editor and Reason contributor Brendan O’Neill put it in his writeup of the Greer controversy:
The Cardiff censors say Greer’s ideas are ‘problematic’. That is what the PC say instead of ‘haram’. Well, we need more problematic people. A problem is a question to be answered, an obstacle to be navigated, which is exactly what students ought to be doing. Student bureaucrats’ fear of anything ‘problematic’ sums up how philistine, dogmatic and illiberal they have become.
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