Writer Germaine Greer has described a petition to ban her from speaking at a university event as a “put-up job”.
The feminist author is scheduled to appear at Cardiff University for a public lecture, Women & Power: The Lessons of the 20th Century.
But the university’s Students’ Union women’s officer Rachael Melhuish has launched an online petition urging the institution to cancel the event, citing Ms Greer’s views on transgender people.
In the petition, Miss Melhuish said: “Greer has demonstrated time and time again her misogynistic views towards trans women, including continually misgendering trans women and denying the existence of transphobia altogether.
“While debate in a university should be encouraged, hosting a speaker with such problematic and hateful views towards marginalised and vulnerable groups is dangerous. Allowing Greer a platform endorses her views, and by extension, the transmisogyny which she continues to perpetuate.”
She added universities should “prioritise the voices of the most vulnerable on their campuses”.
But Ms Greer, 76, said she did not understand why she should not be allowed to speak.
The Australian academic told the Guardian: “I don’t really know what I think of it. It strikes me as a bit of a put-up job really because I am not even going to talk about the issue that they are on about.
“What they are saying is because I don’t think surgery will turn a man into a woman, I should not be allowed to speak.
“I do not know why universities cannot hear unpopular views and think about what they mean.”
She added that she would not appear at the event next month if the university could not guarantee her safety.
Cardiff University vice-chancellor Professor Colin Riordan said: “We are committed to freedom of speech and open debate.
“Our events include speakers with a range of views, all of which are rigorously challenged and debated. This event will be no different.
“Our commitment to our LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) students and staff members is unwavering and we fully recognise the tremendous benefits having such a diverse community brings to Cardiff University.
“We in no way condone discriminatory comments of any kind.”
The petition has so far attracted more than 500 signatures.