…when she has a vagina, apparently. Germaine Greer is a woman, but not one at the top of Cardiff University’s Student Union Christmas card list. Why? Because she dares to mention the unmentionable, that transsexuals aren’t actually women while they’ve still got their meat & two veg intact – like Bruce Jenner, soon to be named ‘Woman of the Year’ in his current incarnation as ‘Caitlyn’. Apparently, all it takes to be a woman these days is to look like one, or one who’s been airbrushed into a 65-year-old man’s idea of a woman. Even Andy Warhol, in a rare candid moment during his infamous interview with David Bailey in 1973, pointed out that his admittedly entertaining drag queen Superstars such as Candy Darling and Holly Woodlawn were mere poseurs because ‘they’ve never had a period’. Salient point in 1973; heresy in 2015.
Anyway, one of the few reasons I’m glad I didn’t have any form of higher education is that I bypassed first-hand experience of the first wave of right-on student behaviour in the 1980s. Products of the puritanical punk Year Zero and its strict rules and regulations, I remember the headlines when a bunch protested outside Leeds Polytechnic at a gig by Steve Albini’s Rapeman, a band they thought should be banned on the strength of their name. I also remember how eager that generation of students were to name their college houses after such exemplary role models as Winnie Mandela. They laid down their Stalin-esque Ten Commandments with an earnest absence of humour characteristic of the far left and were rightly mocked for their po-faced PC principles by the generation that followed them.
And now we’ve come full circle again. Once more, students are patronising ‘minorities’ and speaking on their behalf, pigeonholing and labelling them anew, surmising that they’re happy to be defined by one aspect of their personas – without first asking, of course. The proliferation of fresh mouthfuls to pin on outsiders and grouping them together as a community on the strength of one paltry shared characteristic means anyone who isn’t aware of the new world order stands to be accused of some ‘ism’ that’s just been added to the PC lexicon. LGBT – I mean, come on; who wants that millstone hanging round their neck? And am I the only person on the planet who plays ‘the acronym game’ when out and about? Generally, it serves to alleviate pedestrian boredom, but if confronted by humourless gits who insist their branding is imposed upon the whole of society, my instinct is to work overtime on the possible permutations. Larry Grayson Bums Toddlers? Loose Gussets Bugger Tights? Ladies Gobble Big Todgers?
The generation who were the recipients of Blair’s educational reforms are now terrorising the campuses with their totalitarian intolerance, demanding free speech as long as it doesn’t contradict their narrow worldview, promoting endless useless causes in the absence of any worthy ones, and threatening social media vendettas on anyone who dares to decline signing their constant bloody petitions to ban this and censor that. At what point did British Universities begin to resemble North Korean correction centres?
The fact that this clique of fanatical enforcers have the nerve to call Greer a misogynist not only exposes their ignorance of what that word actually means; it highlights just how far from genuine free speech and debate they’ve moved. Disagree with us and you’re the Devil incarnate, even if you’re a woman who has written more eloquently – and wittily – on the female experience than anyone else of the last half-century. Germaine Greer was never a man-hating ‘Millie Tant’ figure ala Bea Campbell; she was a key member of the late 60s/early 70s London Underground who shot to household name status because she issued her own feminist take on the hippy manifesto and found she had a bestseller on her hands, one that reached way beyond the counter-culture drop-in centres of Ladbroke Grove and turned her into the reluctant spokeswoman for that awful media buzz-word, ‘Women’s Lib’. She’s also the only author to ever have replied to a letter of mine, around fifteen years back, so I know she has a heart.
Greer is not someone who will curb her tongue to compliment contemporary mores; she was once shouted down on ‘Question Time’ because she suggested little girls have the power to wrap fathers round their fingers, demonstrating from an early age that they’re in possession of a potent sexual weapon. And now she has questioned the right of men either midway through, or at the end of, the surgical process to call themselves women. Isn’t she merely stating the obvious? And who made the Students Union of Cardiff University the official spokespeople for males undergoing gender reassignment? I’d wager it wasn’t the males themselves.
Actually, the Cardiff Politburo didn’t strictly call Greer a misogynist; they called her a Trans-misogynist, which is the adequate label they’ve concocted to slot neatly alongside ‘Transphobia’ – the latest label to blacklist somebody who doesn’t want to wrap transsexuals in cotton wool and pat them on the head for being good little victims of an uncaring society. The Cardiff Stasi want to prevent Greer giving a speech at the University that happens to fall in ‘Trans Awareness Week’, believe it or not. I don’t believe Greer has a ‘problem’ with A Boy Named Sue; she’s just publicly voicing an opinion no doubt shared by many in private.
A few years ago, I even toyed with the idea of gender reassignment myself, partly because I envied the frivolous freedoms women enjoy where clothes are concerned whilst men are encased within a sartorial straitjacket that any slight veering from can make life hard going at times; and partly because I was in a relationship with a lesbian that couldn’t be consummated for fairly evident reasons. My GP put me in touch with someone who’d been through it – an inspired move, as it turned out. The strength of will it takes to endure the surgery and then recover from it was something I’d been ignorant of before; this person had been completely disowned by their family, yet felt the sacrifice was worth it. I realised I wasn’t committed enough and didn’t want it badly enough. I changed my mind. Besides, just because I’d never been at ease with being a man didn’t necessarily mean I’d be at ease becoming a woman. How much of our own gender identity is pure psycho-social conditioning, anyway?
Therefore, I remain an uncategorised enigma within the endless minority sub-sections of society. I don’t belong to a ‘community’ that is policed by the storm-troopers of Cardiff University and I can’t summon up an appropriate phobia of which to accuse any stranger who takes it upon themselves to hurl abuse at me. Having said that, I’m quite content with it; I don’t want to be defined by how I look or by the fact that I’m a square peg or a black sheep. I like that, and I don’t want to be taken up as a cause by borderline fascists who suffer from a sense of humour bypass.
One would like to think when this generation of students graduate their reign of terror will gradually subside. That may be true in the universities, but there’s the uncomfortable truth that they will then be unleashed upon the outside world. You have been warned…