Germaine Greer and the Wrong Things To Say

“I do understand that some people are born intersex and they deserve support in coming to terms with their gender but it’s not the same thing. A man who gets his d**k chopped off is actually inflicting an extraordinary act of violence on himself.” — Germaine Greer

Nobody is perfect; we all learn that at an early age. But for someone who is supposed to be intelligent, intuitive, and articulate, this is rather an Olympian feat of missing the mark. While “intersex” and “gender dysphoric” are not the same thing in a literal sense, they share an incredibly important characteristic, one that is key to the formation of Self in people who are either: in some profound way, their bodies as given to them do not allow them to flawlessly experience their gender identity. The clearest difference between one and the other is that, in intersex individuals, there may be evidence that is plainly visible.

What I don’t understand in her rant is the willingness to believe that support is undeserved for any human being who voluntarily seeks out getting “his dick chopped off” in order to live a complete life that matches the mapping of her brain. The science is there for Greer to see (and I mention her specifically only because this recent controversy is centered on her quotes, but her views represent those of a large portion of the population). What is it that keeps her (and much of the general public) from wanting to acknowledge it?

And for anyone tempted to comment, “Oh, it’s just her opinion,” or who advises not to worry about what this one person thinks: you miss the mark almost as much as she does. Statements like hers, viewpoints like hers, policy based on attitudes like hers all matter in the deepest of ways because they affect our ability to live and function in the world and, sometimes, even to breathe.

Especially to breathe.