Famed academic Mary Beard has tweeted suggesting that she “might not be 100 percent straight”.
The Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge was accused of homophobia in a tweet about whether or not being gay is biological.
Responding to critics, Beard simply wrote: “oh for crying out loud….”
But In a later tweet, engaging with a number of followers, she added: “It never seems to cross their mind that I might not be 100% straight either! I’m too old I guess!”
She later tweeted: “All I can say is that if I’m worst enemy of the lesbian community they are damn lucky (or picking on minnows). I’m tempted to say Get Real!”
The tweet she had responded to claimed: “#Classicist #MaryBeard believes in Homer but not #Homosexuals!”
It cited a tweet in which she wrote: “Old lady classist thinks homosexuality not biological SHOCK”
She later tweeted to clarify: “It was meant historically… to presume to know the sexuality of those in the past is, in my view crass”.
Beard said she was previously left “wanting to cry” after becoming embroiled in a row over an open letter warning about the “censorship” of people’s opinions about trans people.
The professor put her name to a letter in the Guardian – which was also co-signed by a number of activists who actively campaign against trans women’s rights.
The letter cited several incidents – including a protest outside a talk by Germaine Greer, who believes that trans women should not be recognised as women, criticism of Green candidate Rupert Reed, who was condemned by his party leader over comments about trans women, and the NUS ‘no platforming’ author Julie Bindel – who has previously attacked a “trans cabal”.
The professor was besieged by hundreds of angry messages after signing the letter – though she insisted she did understand its purpose.