PM4001: Sheila Jeffreys

Sheila Jeffreys is a radical feminist academic who lives in Melbourne, Australia.[1]. She is well-known for her virulent transphobia.

She believes that transsexual people are part of a government plot to oppress women, with similarities to the actions of Iranian mullahs:

Can I just say something about fundamentalism. It is important that, in Iran – and this is a connection I have with Alison here, because we’re making connections today – in Iran transgenderism is totally approved, it’s enforced by the state. Huge numbers of men are having transgender surgery and they’re getting it on the state because homosexuals are executed. So, what I think is very fascinating is that there’s a connection between the very jolly Blair government and their Gender Recognition Act and Iran. They love transgenderism because it does help to get rid of this serious problem of homosexuality and it enforces gender. Right? So we do need to be fighting, I think, transgenderism as a state ‘project’ in terms of gender.[2]

At the same conference, she expressed support for the ultra-conservative British politican Norman Tebbit's views on the Gender Recognition Act (which gave transsexualism legal recognition under British law):

Now one of the things I find puzzling about it is that, when I look at the House of Lords debate on this legislation, those I agree with most are the radical right. Particularly the person I find that I agree with most, in here, and I’m not sure he will be pleased to find this, is Norman Tebbitt. Now, Norman Tebbitt is not having any of it, right, so in response to the Gender Recognition Act, he says, he gives a very good definition of gender as socially constructed and says, in your act you’ve got it confused, right, it should say sex and you’ve got gender. And Lord Filkin, for the government, who is putting this legislation through, says that sex and gender are the same thing and anyway, what does it matter? Right, isn’t that extraordinary? Tebbitt then accuses him of linguistic relativism. Which I love. [laughter} Couldn’t have put it better myself. Tebbitt also says that the savage mutilation of transgenderism, we would say if it was taking place in other cultures apart from the culture of Britain, was a harmful cultural practice, and how come we’re not recognising that in the British Isles. So he makes all of these arguments from the radical right, which is quite embarrassing to me, but I have to say, so called progressive and left people are not recognising the human rights violations of transgenderism or how crazy the legislation is. The legislation makes us engage in a folie à everybody, right? Everybody now has to go mad in order to understand or respond to this legislation.[3]


  1. Her biography at University of Melbourne website
  2. Comments at Andrea Dworkin Commemorative Conference, Oxford, 7 April 2006. Transcript Audio
  3. Her speech at the same conference