Germaine Greer will not give Cardiff University lecture because of abuse over views on transgender people

The 76-year-old told Newsnight she believes transgender people who transition from male to female 'can't be women'

Lizzie Dearden
Saturday 24 October 2015 14:08 BST

Germaine Greer has said she will not attend a planned lecture at Cardiff University after a petition called on her to be barred because of her “misogynistic views towards trans women”.

The feminist writer and academic spoke about the abuse she has received over her views on transexuality, which were not going to be a part of her talk entitled Women & Power: The Lessons of the 20th Century.

In an interview on the BBC Newsnight, she said that she would not travel to Cardiff, even if the petition calling on the event to be cancelled fails.

“I’m getting a bit old for all this,” she added. “I’m 76, I don’t want to go down there and be screamed at and have things thrown at me. Bugger it.”

Ms Greer confirmed that she believes post-operative transgender people “can’t be a woman” but insisted the issue was not a focus for her.

“I’m not saying that people should not be allowed to go through that procedure, all I’m saying is that it doesn’t make them a woman,” she continued.

“That happens to be an opinion, it’s not a prohibition. Carry on if that’s what you think you want to do.

“I’ve been accused of inciting violence against transsexual people – that’s absolute nonsense.”

Germaine Greer said Caitlyn Jenner 'wanted the limelight enjoyed' by the Kardashians
Germaine Greer said Caitlyn Jenner 'wanted the limelight enjoyed' by the Kardashians (Getty)

When asked about Caitlyn Jenner, she said “he/she wanted the limelight that the other female members of the (Kardashian) family were enjoying and has conquered it just like that”.

Ms Greer, whose views on transexuality were partly responsible for her former Cambridge University college deciding not to award her an honorary doctorate, said she receives constant abuse.

“I’m getting fed up with this,” she said. “I’ve had things thrown at me, I’ve been accused of things I’ve never done or said.

“People seem to have no concern about evidence or indeed even about libel.”

Speaking about the petition, which has garnered more than 700 signatures, Cardiff University vice-chancellor Professor Colin Riordan said the institution was committed to freedom of speech and open debate.

"Our events include speakers with a range of views, all of which are rigorously challenged and debated,” he added.

"Our commitment to our LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) students and staff members is unwavering."

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in