She’s one of the most controversial and arguably influential writers and academics in Australia so when she is a panellist on Q&A, something is bound to happen.
Even Twitter users readied themselves for the late-evening debate show:
The truth is that everyone is just waiting for Germaine to say something crazy. And I say: Bring it. #qanda
— Joe Hildebrand (@Joe_Hildebrand) April 11, 2016
Oh no, Germaine Greer #qanda
— A Coaster™ (@Praptolium) April 11, 2016
Last year, Germaine aired her views about transgender people on BBC Newsnight, saying that post-surgery, trans people do not “look like, sound like or behave like woman”. Greer commented that in the recent case of Caitlyn Jenner, “wanted the limelight that the other female members of the (Kardashian) family were enjoying and has conquered it just like that.”
Greer added, “”I’m not saying that people should not be allowed to have the procedure, all I’m saying is that it doesn’t make them a woman.”
On Monday night, audience member Steph D’Souza began what would be a very heated discussion:
“I find really confusing views you’ve expressed that transgender women are not real women. Why do you believe there is such a thing as a real woman? Isn’t that the kind of essentialism that you and I are trying to resist and escape?”
Germaine responded, “This is so difficult.
“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 … and I now realise … that this was wrong.
“But the interesting thing to me is this: That if you decide, because you’re uncomfortable in the masculine system — which turns boys into men, often at great cost to themselves — if you’re unhappy with that, it doesn’t mean that you belong at the other end of the spectrum”.
Host Tony Jones asked, “What if you know you’ve been born the wrong sex?”
“You can’t know,” Greer replied, clearly upsetting Labor Senator Lisa Singh, also on the panel, who said, “How can you say that?”
“You don’t know what the other sex is like”, Germaine said.
“But to a transgender person, they know that. They feel that within their own identity”, Singh countered.
Germaine then reiterated her previous comments on Caitlyn Jenner, saying the former Olympian’s crowing as Glamour Magazine’s woman of the year “makes the rest of the female population of the world feel slightly wry”.
She finished her argument by saying, “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.”
Joseph Tawadros, another panellist, said “Society is moving very quickly. There’s still lot of people that don’t understand transgender. I don’t understand all the aspects of transgender people but I just have to respect that”.