Friday, 4 December 2015
Fanaticism: The Hand holding the knife
Germaine Greer, hater of trans people, has upped her weaponised rhetoric by declaring, theatrically, that she wouldn’t recognise trans women as women even if a knife were held at her throat. Whilst I would very much doubt her at her word when she says this, it is clear that her fanaticism has developed along the same lines as those of many other fanatics.
Of course lots of people can play that game; I could say that you could hold a knife to my throat and I will never recognise Greer as a feminist, a bona fide academic or indeed as anything other than a bigoted oppressor of trans people who is milking as much publicity as mainstream media will give her (and they are giving her a lot). But it would be a lie. It would be a lie because people like her are not worth dying for, she is not worth even a slight scar in the place where no Adams Apple exists.
What is worth taking action over however, is the way mainstream media has given her, and those who wish to make a big deal out of her “free speech” plenty of publicity. The way mainstream media has publicised her hatred and increasingly fanatical bigotry is not consequence-free. Two trans women have recently died in male prisons because of the exact same bigotry that she promotes. It’s strange isn’t it, how hate speech against trans people is a “Free Speech” issue, when hate speech against anyone else is a Hate Speech issue.
Her fanatical transphobia is clearly not rational. It seems to me that the kind of “I will die to impose my oppressive beliefs on everyone else” attitude is one more associated with the Isis terrorists than a rational academic mind. Greer has gradually become more and more fanatical in her attitude as the year has gone on, to the point now where she has crossed the Rubicon between obsession and fanaticism, and with every transphobic pronouncement she devalues her previous writing a little more, things I used to take seriously now increasingly read like either the product of monkeys and typewriers or of a grating insincerity borne out of a desire for fame at any cost.
Watching a formerly respected individual gradually self-destruct from a burning fanatical hatred is, of course no fun, especially if it discredits feminism, but it is worse than that. Greer’s pronouncements have an effect. They make it increasingly acceptable to be transphobic, and transphobia costs lives. Would Vicky Thompson and Joanne Latham still be alive if it were not for Greer’s hate? It is of course impossible to know for sure. What is certain however, is that the discrimination which drove them (and many others) to their deaths by their own hands was not helped by Greer.
To be honest Greer really has lost the plot in this interview. She has simply got a whole lot of factual information, especially about marriage and transitioning, completely wrong. For a supposed “academic” this is a joke. Let’s be honest this interview was a car-crash on a par with Gerard Ratner’s famous interview, which knocked £500 million off the value of his business overnight. This interview was the academic version of “doing a Ratner”. Revealing her fanaticism, relying on inaccurate (and easily checkable) information, which she attempts to sensationalise, Greer has undermined herself and revealed herself as a joke. In a sense the media has given her enough rope and she has hanged herself.
Yet irony of ironies the hand holding the knife is not that of a trans person. The hands holding the knife are those of Greer and her apologists, and the throats, some of which have already been cut, are those of trans people. If cis people cannot see her now for what she really is, they are wilfully, and criminally, blind.