Prominent feminist espouses her bizarre 'theory of transsexualism'

in the book The Whole Woman (1999, 2000): 


"Gender reassignment is an exorcism of the mother"

- Germaine Greer



Germaine Greer, The Whole Woman, Alfred A. Knopf, May 1999 (hardcover).

Germaine Greer, The Whole Woman, Anchor Books, March 2000 (paperback).



Introductory note by Lynn Conway:


Germaine Greer is notorious among trans women as one of the feminist vigilantes who went on an anti-transsexual rampage in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Along with feminist academic Janice Raymond, author of the notorious book The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male, Greer went on a witch-hunt to find and “out” stealthy postop women.


Raymond and Greer (and their ideological followers) especially targeted trans women who had successfully obtained good employment. They went after these women without remorse, in efforts to publicly defame them, cost them their livelihoods, and force them into social marginalization (which Raymond and Greer apparently thought they deserved).


Physicist Rachel Padman of Cambridge University became one of Greer’s special targets in 1996 (Greer ruthlessly outed and attacked Rachel in the UK tabloids).  Fortunately, Rachel was really well-liked at Cambridge, and was able to survive Greer’s wrath.


Although most stealthy women in academe and the professions escaped such exposure, fear of being exposed by the Raymond-Greer witch-hunt kept many successful trans women in deep stealth during the 1980’s and 1990’s.  As a result, the stories of many successful transitions in those decades never became public.


However, at the turn of the 21st Century ever larger numbers of trans women finally began finding each other via the internet each year – and began collectively freeing themselves of the fear, shame, embarrassment and guilt that so many transphobes such as Greer had heaped on them in the past. As a result, our successes are rapidly becoming much more visible now


Nevertheless, Germaine Greer continues to viciously defame trans women even now, as we see below, and her books are still widely read and taken quite seriously in "women's studies" programs in many universities.


What is it that drives Greer to attack trans women in such a hate-filled, remorseless manner?  Whatever it is, it must arise at very deep and personal level. Could it be envy that drives her to do this? Could she just hate it that some trans women may be enjoying deeply satisfying lives in ways she can never hope to?  By her utterances and by all appearances Greer seems to be a very angry, unsatisfied, unfulfilled person - so maybe that's what's going on, eh?






Excerpts from ‘PANTOMIME DAMES’

[A chapter in the book The Whole Woman (1999, 2000), by Germaine Greer]




"The only way a man can get rid of healthy genitals is to say that he is convinced that he is a woman. Then another man will remove them and gladly. In order to justify sex-change surgery a new disorder called gender dysphoria has come into being. The disease has no biological marker; its presence is discerned by a history of inappropriately gendered behaviour, social disability and affective disorder.  . . .


Governments that consist of very few women have hurried to recognize as women men who believe that they are women and have had themselves castrated to prove it, because they see women not as another sex but as a non-sex. No so-called sex-change has ever begged for a uterus-and-ovaries transplant; if uterus-and-ovaries transplants were made mandatory for wannabe women they would disappear overnight. The insistence that manmade women be accepted as women is the institutional expression of the mistaken conviction that women are defective males. The biological truth is the opposite; all biologists know that males are defective females. Though external genitalia are the expression of the chromosomal defect, their removal will not alter the chromosomal fact, any more than removal of the tails of puppies will produce a tailless breed. "Sex-change operations" can only be carried out in Swift's Laputa. As Dwight D. Billings and Robert Urban argued in 1982:

Transsexualism is a relational process sustained in medical practice and marketed in public testimony ... The legitimization, rationalization and commodification of sex-change operations have produced an identity category—transsexual—for a diverse group of sexual deviants and victims of severe gender role distress.

As sufferers from gender role distress themselves, women must sympathize with transsexuals but a feminist must argue that the treatment for gender role distress is not mutilation of the sufferer but radical change of gender roles. Throughout their history women who could not carry out their prescribed gender roles have suffered all kinds of ghastly gynecological procedures and, like transsexuals, they have been grateful to their abusers. Women could hardly now condone the elaborate mutilations practised on individuals of both sexes, even though the victims argue that such mutilations are their right.


Sex-change surgery is profoundly conservative in that it reinforces sharply contrasting gender roles by shaping individuals to fit them.  . . .


No one ever asked women if they recognized sex-change males as belonging to their sex or considered whether being obliged to accept MTF transsexuals as women was at all damaging to their identity or self-esteem. As far as anyone could tell, women did not mind calling sex-change males "she." Perhaps this development should have been resisted, because it was part of the definition of the female as "other," as simply the "not-male." Femaleness is not the other side of the Rorschach blot of maleness, but a sex of its own, with a sexuality of its own and a whole spectrum of possible expressions, many of which take no account of maleness at all. Woman is not placed on earth for the use of man any more than men are placed on earth for the use of women. Both could do without each other if it were not for the pesky business of sexual reproduction. . . .


A good-hearted woman is not supposed to mind that her sex is the catch-all for all cases of gender ambiguity, but her tolerance of spurious femaleness, her consent to treat it as if it is the same as her own gender identity weakens her claim to have a sex of her own and tacitly supports the Freudian stereotype of women as incomplete beings defined by their lack of a penis. Women's lack of choosiness about who may be called a woman strengthens the impression that women do not see their sex as quite real, and suggests that perhaps they too identify themselves as the not-male, the other, any other.  . . .


The transsexual is identified as such solely on his/her own script, which can be as learned as any sex-typed behaviour and as editorialized as autobiographies usually are. The lack of insight that MTF transsexu¬als usually show about the extent of their acceptance as females should be an indication that their behaviour is less rational than it seems. There is a witness to the transsexual's script, a witness who is never consulted. She is the person who built the transsexual's body of her own flesh and brought it up as her son or daughter, the transsexual's worst enemy, his/her mother. Whatever else it is gender reassignment is an exorcism of the mother. When a man decides to spend his life impersonating his mother (like Norman Bates in Psycho) it is as if he murders her and gets away with it, proving at a stroke that there was nothing to her. His intentions are no more honourable than any female impersonator's; his achievement is to gag all those who would call his bluff. When he forces his way into the few private spaces women may enjoy and shouts down their objections, and bombards the women who will not accept him with threats and hate mail, he does as rapists have always done."


- Germaine Greer


[Bold for emphasis] 



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