(Photo by Gaye Gerard/Getty Images)
Well… wow. What do you make of this? Richard O’Brien responding to Germaine Greer’s comments on transgenderism.
I agree with Germaine Greer and Barry Humphries. You can’t be a woman. You can be an idea of a woman. You’re in the middle and there’s nothing wrong with that. I certainly wouldn’t have the wedding tackle taken off. That is a huge jump and I have all the sympathy in the world for anyone who does it but you aren’t a woman.”
~~ Richard O’Brien
My opinion on this is that I think Germaine Greer is a fairly abhorrent person with regards to her views on transgenderism, but I think Richard O’Brien is kind of making a fair point, although it comes across rather badly.
As a “third gender” person myself I can see what he is saying – if I had surgery then it wouldn’t alter the person I am inside, it would only affect my outward appearance.
Your gender identiy is a state of being – an internal state of mind – and physical genitalia have little bearing on that. The difference between him and Greer is that he appears to suggest that he thinks it is possible to be a woman even if you weren’t born one genetically, and she emphatically does not.
I don’t understand how she can campaign for equality, acceptance and inclusion, and then say that trans women are not women but are men trying to usurp and subvert feminism. What an abhorrent thing to say!
By contrast, Richard seems to be saying that you can be a woman inside and no matter what you do (or don’t) to your genitals, who you are remains. As in, still a woman. And I can totally accept that.
If that’s not what he meant, and instead he really is in agreement with Germaine Greer’s bigotry, then obviously I don’t endorse that. However, what *I* am saying is that who you are inside is what is important and your physical attributes less so.
That isn’t to say that gender reassignment surgery is wrong, or unnecessary; it’s perfectly natural to want your physical appearance to match your gender identity should you genuinely need to transition. But by the same token, no matter how much surgery you have you will never reach the nirvana of being exactly the same as if you had been born differently. And, further, there is immense pressure on transgender people to transition from one society-endorsed gender binary to the other, and as I’ve observed many times in this blog, there are more options and states of being than that.
So, in conclusion, my interpretation of what Richard O’Brien is saying is that he is advocating finding contentment in being yourself rather than feeling pressured into transitioning. And that is a world away from agreeing with Germaine Greer.