Top author Ian McEwan: I can only think of people with penises as men

Award-winning author Ian McEwan has waded into a debate on trans rights, claiming that he can’t seen anyone with a penis as other than a man.

McEwan, 67, is the latest to offer his opinion on the rights of trans people, mentioning an ongoing controversy surrounding people like Germaine Greer, who denies that trans women can truly be women, reports the Times.

Speaking at the Royal Institute earlier this week, the Atonement author referred to trans women as “men”, and said: “Call me old-fashioned, but I tend to think of people with penises as men.”

He added: “I know they enter a difficult world when they become transsexuals and they tell us they are women, they become women, but it’s interesting when you hear the conflict between feminists now and people in this group.

“It’s quite a bitter conflict. Spaces are put aside, women are wanting to put spaces aside like colleges or changing rooms, and find from another side a radical discussion coming their way saying men who want to feel like it can come in there too. I think it’s really difficult.

“And I think there is sweeping through American campuses a kind of strange sense of victimhood and a sense of purposeful identities that we can’t actually all of us agree with. Of course sex and race are different, but they also have a biological basis. It makes a difference whether you have an X or Y chromosome.”

When asked to clarify the comments by a member of the audience, McEwan said: “Call me old-fashioned, but I tend to think of people with penises as men.”

“For example, some men in full possession of a penis are now identifying as women and demanding entry to women-only colleges, and the right to change in women’s dressing rooms. Others outwardly capable both mentally and physically identify as disabled, and there has been a recent celebrated case of a white woman identifying as black.”

McEwan is the latest to wade into the issue.

Rocky Horror creator Richard O’Brien last month caused controversy by speaking out against transgender women.

The veteran actor is best known as the presenter of gameshow The Crystal Maze, and for creating The Rocky Horror Picture Show – as well as originating the role of Riff-Raff.

The 73-year-old has previously spoken about his own fluid gender identity, labelling himself the “third sex” and explaining: “I believe myself probably to be about 70% male, 30% female”, adding he “ticks the ‘M’ box” for gender but “would quite like to have Other to tick.”

However, speaking to the Metro O’Brien weighed in on controversy surrounding feminist author Germaine Greer’s anti-trans comments.

Greer claimed last year: “Just because you lop off your d**k and then wear a dress doesn’t make you a f***ing woman.”

Greer said previously: “I’ve asked my doctor to give me long ears and liver spots and I’m going to wear a brown coat but that doesn’t turn me into a f***ing cocker spaniel.

“A man who gets his d**k chopped off is actually inflicting an extraordinary act of violence on himself.”

Dame Edna star Barry Humphries also claimed in an interview that gender surgery is “mutilation”.

He said: “I agree with Germaine! You’re a mutilated man, that’s all. Self-mutilation, what’s all this carry on? Caitlyn Jenner – what a publicity-seeking ratbag.

“It’s all given the stamp – not of respectability, but authenticity or something. If you criticise anything you’re racist or sexist or homophobic.”