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| January 21, 2019

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9,000 Sign Petition Asking Brighton Dome to Cancel Women’s Day Lecture

Brighton Dome
Pete Humphreys

Over 9,000 people have signed an online petition calling on Brighton Dome to cancel a talk by feminist author Germaine Greer over remarks she has previously made about transgender women.

Greer, who published The Female Eunuch in 1970, will be delivering her lecture ‘Women For Life on Earth: The Inevitability of Ecofeminism’ at Brighton Dome on 4 March to celebrate International Women’s Day, but many would like to see the event cancelled because she has previously remarked that transgender women are “not women”.

An online petition calling on the venue to disinvite the writer accuses her of inciting “hate speech and violence against trans people” and says that allowing her to speak is “an insult to all trans people”. The petition do not provide any evidence for their claim that Germaine Greer’s words have incited hate speech or violence.

In 2016 a talk by Greer did not go ahead, after a petition calling on Cardiff University to cancel the event gained over 700 signatures.

Appearing on BBC Newsnight at the time, Greer said: “I’m not saying that people should not be allowed to go through that procedure, all I’m saying is that it doesn’t make them a woman.

“That happens to be an opinion, it’s not a prohibition. Carry on if that’s what you think you want to do.

“I’ve been accused of inciting violence against transsexual people – that’s absolute nonsense.

“People seem to have no concern about evidence or indeed even about libel.”

Those attempting to stop Germaine Greer speaking at events are often accused of trying to “shut down free speech”. The creators of the petition respond: “Not allowing Greer to speak at this event is not a limitation of her free speech.

“Greer is one of the most influential second-wave feminists with one of the largest platforms within the feminist movement.

“Not allowing her to speak is simply taking a firm stance against transphobic views that should not be tolerated by the Brighton & Hove City Council.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival says: “We understand the concerns that people have raised about statements Greer has made on transgender issues. Whilst we in no way endorse these views, as an arts organisation – and at a time which feels particularly precarious, both politically and socially – we are committed to providing a platform for a whole breadth of opinion, debate and discussion.

“The Brighton Women’s Centre would like to make clear that they are in no way associated with Germaine Greer’s appearance at Brighton Dome and we are happy to give that assurance.

“As our past season’s demonstrate, Brighton Dome actively supports work which celebrates and champions diversity in all its forms and we would like to reassure audiences that we are committed to ensuring that Brighton Dome is a safe and welcoming space for all.”

Featured image: Dominic Alves

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