Academic and author Richard Dawkins has spoken out following the petition to stop transphobic feminist Germaine Greer from speaking at Cardiff University.
Dawkins, who has expressed some extreme and insulting views in the past, took to twitter following the incident in which Germaine Greer appeared on BBC Newsnight to decry the petition. He said, ‘Students who suppress a distinguished scholar’s lecture because they disagree with her have no place in a university.’
‘Those who think it’s nonsense are entitled to stay away. Or come and argue. They should not censor views they think are nonsense.’
‘A university is not a ‘safe space’. If you need a safe space, leave, go home, hug your teddy & suck your thumb until ready for university.’
Following on from this Dawkins even went on to post a tweet questioning if trans women are women. It stated ‘Is a trans woman a woman? Purely semantic. If you define by chromosomes, no. If by self-identification, yes. I call her ‘she’ out of courtesy.’
Both series of tweets have been met with a number of complaints, prompting Dawkins to go on the defensive, even complaining that he was getting hate after stating that he ‘wished to be courteous’.
The things that Dawkins fails to understand is this;
Yes, a university may not be a ‘safe space’, but to claim that people who disagree with a ‘distinguished scholar’ should not be at university is farcical. At the best Dawkins is trying to say that there should be no room for any debate or differing opinions in a place of learning. At worst Dawkins is completely blind to the idea that prejudice views can be harmful.
Because that’s the thing, Germaine Greer isn’t simply giving an alternative view to other people, she’s spouting abusive words and statements designed to demonise and invalidate trans women. She’s using every platform she can to use slur words like he/she and claim that trans women are always and forever men, opposing the spread of such sentiments isn’t censoring ‘views they think are nonsense’.
If a university, or any establishment, booked a speaker who expressed deeply homophobic or racist views people would be praised for trying to stop the spread of that kind of hate speech, but as far a Dawkins seems to be concerned when it comes to trans women it’s simply disagreeing with someone.
Something that can be seen as being supported by his follow up tweets, stating that trans women are not women because of their chromosomes. Despite anything else said in that tweet, or in follow up tweets he did say that trans women are not women.
Turning around and saying that if it’s down to self-identification then trans women are women, or that he calls trans women ”she’ out of courtesy’ means nothing after that first statement. He’s giving those who would argue against trans women’s identity a clear cut statement that trans women are not women.
And to say he calls trans women ”she’ out of courtesy’ is downright insulting. If you call a trans woman she ‘out of courtesy’ rather than because you believe she’s a woman you’re basically saying that she’s not a woman. I don’t call people he to be courteous, I do it because that’s who they are.
Once again though, this is a case of someone feeling that because they’re ‘famous’ and because it’s the transgender community they’re completely immune to the consequences of the hate speech they spout, of the insults and disrespect they feel they’re entitled to say. He insulted the trans community and their supporters, but now that he’s being called out on that he’s ‘getting hate’.
Well yes Richard, you are getting hate. You’re getting exactly what you deserve for spouting false, hateful opinions as fact and expecting to get away with it. You are not a ‘victim’ in this, you are not the wronged party. If you didn’t want to have people complain about you and call you out on what you say, don’t spout hate towards minority groups.