Protesters met on Saturday 27 January to oppose a talk by second-wave feminist Germaine Greer at the Norwich Playhouse due to their belief that Greer is transphobic.
The protest was organised by the Norwich-based feminist organisation Freedom Fibres, who said: “The aim of this event [was] to educate the attendees on intersectional feminism and to let Greer know that her fascism will not be accepted or tolerated in our city.”
A handful of protestors handed out zines explaining intersectional feminism, “Why Germaine Greer is so problematic”, and recommended further reading on gender. The zine included comments made by Greer in 2015 which made national headlines.
In response to public backlash regarding her claim that going through a surgical procedure doesn’t make a trans-woman a woman, in October 2015 Greer told BBC VictoriaLIVE: “Just because you lop off your d**k and then wear a dress doesn’t make you a f***ing woman.”
The zines also referred to more recent comments made by Greer, who criticised the “whingeing” #MeToo movement around the world.
Speaking to Concrete at the protest, Jade Searby, founder of Freedom Fibres, said: “Some of the ideas [Greer] perpetuates are quite damaging.”
Jade added: “What [second-wave feminists] have done is very important but what they have to understand is that they’ve raised a generation of women to question and challenge things, so they can’t be surprised when the youth start questioning them.
If you’re going to stand up for gender you need to do that across the board otherwise you’re a hypocrite.”
A transgender woman at the protest, Poppy-Rose, (pictured), told Concrete: “I am legally female, and Germaine Greer is saying that I am not female.
That brand of hate we do not need, Norwich does not need it.
“I am here to raise a point, to make people aware as they go in, and to show people what a trans person is like. I will stand here rain or shine to make this point.”
A self-proclaimed “admirer of Germaine Greer”, Chris, who attended the talk, said: “Greer is a bright lady who doesn’t always hold views with which everyone agrees, but that makes an interesting evening.”
SU Campaigns and Democracy Officer Jack Robinson expressed support for “non-violent protests like this”, which he claims are “a way for people to express conflicting views with passion and ensure that controversial views are challenged out in the open.”
Norwich Playhouse director Caroline Richardson told Concrete they do not endorse any of Greer’s controversial beliefs.
However, he added they are also “committed to providing a platform for a wide range of opinions, debates and discussions”.
Germaine Greer did not wish to comment on the grounds that she no longer does print interviews.