An outspoken and lauded feminist has been accused of misogyny. That seems a contradiction in terms but it's true. Germaine Greer has publicly ridiculed trans women and got everyone talking about it like never before. It seems her once radical views and feminist voice are not only out of date, they are deeply offensive.
In The Female Eunuch, her radical feminist manifesto of 1970, Greer wrote, rather shockingly for the time: "I'm sick of being a transvestite. I refuse to be a female impersonator. I am a woman, not a castrate."
And now, 45 years on, many are decrying this fearless fighter of women's rights for her outdated views on women themselves after a storm of very public disapproval. Notice I didn't put the prefix 'trans' before the word 'women' there? And therein lies the whole point.
Greer is no longer fighting against a patriarchy that seeks to define women as secondary to men, she is now fighting a new and equally fearless and more enlightened society of men and women who are not going to tolerate her public verbal abuse. Greer seems to be forgetting that feminism began as the fight for equality against the notion that one group may be considered, and indeed actually treated, as superior to another.
This debate goes on at a time when the UK's mainstream TV is featuring a season of documentaries entitled Born in the Wrong Body on Channel 4, and publication of the first book for trans children, Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl? by Sarah Savage is just hitting our book shelves.
The UK's media has been quick to pick up in this. Rebecca Root, star of new TV 'rom-com' Boy Meets Girl, was interviewed on BBC TV's Victoria Derbyshire programme about Greer's comments. While her reaction to Greer's aggressive statement specifically for the interview, fuelled with expletives was, understandably, one of shock and disbelief, her response was extremely constructive. She explained that to any trans woman or man for that matter, Greer's comments are offensive and transphobic which is unhelpful on so many levels. When asked what it was like to go through transition, she recounted years of pain both emotional and physical, sometimes from abuse in public, which is sadly not unusual and yet another reason why Greer needs to understand that what she is doing is so negative.
Rebecca Root said: "It's tempting to ignore her and not give her a greater platform but if we don't stand up to bullies they will just continue bullying. Hopefully a more enlightened society will understand and see her comments are grossly offensive, quite ludicrous and out of date."
I have long considered myself a feminist as I believe firmly we are all equal as living, breathing human beings who think and feel and love and fear. We deserve equal respect as much as we deserve equal rights and equal pay in the workplace. It is a century since our suffragettes fought for the right for women to vote, now I am joining the fight for all women to be shown equal respect in the public sphere.
It is so important we teach our daughters to appreciate the long, hard fight that has been fought for us over the years, a fight that we should not forget is sadly still going on in other countries.
What warms my heart is that we now live in a world where not only is this being discussed openly in the media but there are many of us who are understanding, non-judgemental and supportive of all human beings whatever their gender, race or sexuality.
Greer is, of course, entitled to her opinion but to put it out there in such a way is damaging - and not, as she may have thought - to the trans community, their loved ones and supporters - but ultimately to her own reputation.