Objectivity. That has been a guiding principle in my life since the 1970s, when I started in the newspaper business. Not just the working part of my life, but my whole life.
So yesterday when I wrote that we ought to let Germaine Greer have freedom of speech, I was being objective. I wasn’t saying that I agree with her viewpoints. I was simply saying that she has a right to them.
Not everyone agrees with me. Some feel she doesn’t have a right to express her views that “trans women aren’t really women.” And some trans people were unhappy with me because I believe Germaine should have freedom of speech.
And then when I expressed my view that Caitlyn Jenner is not a great choice for Woman of the Year, some trans people took issue with that. One even bullied me, to the point that I fled, in a virtual sense. Like Germaine, I chose to withdraw rather than be taunted and insulted.
Which all reminds me that some trans people can be just as intolerant and belligerent as right-wing anti-LGBT aggressors can be.
But enough about me: I think I understand why Germaine and others feel trans women are not really women. I’m not saying I agree with them. I’m just being objective.
Germaine and others feel that trans women have never had ovaries, have never menstruated, have never carried a child within them. Trans women have not been leered at since the age of 5 or 6 by dirty old men like so many girls have. And perhaps most important of all, trans women have escaped the oppressive lifestyles so many females experience at the hands of the patriarchy.
In short, there is a lot of the experience — the rough experience — of being female that trans women never know.
So objectively speaking, that’s what Germaine and company may be talking about, and they are right about those particular points. And in their minds, those experiences and more are what makes a “real woman.”
Trans people can’t argue those particular points.
BUT, trans people can point out that there are different paths to womanhood in this modern world, and that something — some biochemical physiological event beyond their control — has resulted in the transgender experience. Trans people didn’t ask for this to happen to them, and I think Germaine and company are being less than charitable by writing off trans women as imposters.
But I understand why some of them do it: they feel they have been oppressed by the patriarchy, and they view trans women with suspicion. So when trans women attack and bully them on social media with daunts and threats, well, their fears are being verified, in their view. Because it is a very masculine and commie thing to wage war on individuals because their views make you feel insecure. Think Vladimir Putin and his cronies . . .
Germaine would be the first to tell you that her opinions are just that. If you don’t agree with them, debate them with her. But don’t bully her. If you feel the need to lash out, walk away. Just as she did from the Cardiff University lecture when trans people attacked her. Just as I did today when some trans people started bullying me.
— Jillian Page