Eddie Izzard

Ask not, how can we be tolerated, but, how can we be ourselves?

Eddie Izzard has not changed her name, or even her pronouns. Eddie has been going on stage in makeup and blouses for years. In 2016 she started referring to himself as a “transgender man”, confusingly, as “trans man” means F-M, saying “I’ve got boy genetics and girl genetics”. In December she was painted on Sky Arts “Portrait artist of the year”, and referred to with she/her pronouns. Trans people were delighted. LGB All Liars sought a bit of publicity by attacking her. However she kept her male name, and did not change presentation particularly. She is not trying to “pass as a woman”.

Then she got in the news again, in the Telegraph, Evening Standard and Pink News, when she said JK Rowling was “not transphobic”.

I don’t think JK Rowling is transphobic. I think we need to look at the things she has written about in her blog. Women have been through such hell over history. Trans people have been invisible, too. I hate the idea we are fighting between ourselves, but it’s not going to be sorted with the wave of a wand. I don’t have all the answers. If people disagree with me, fine – but why are we going through hell on this?

Rowling finds inclusive language for trans men offensive, and rants about “trans activists”. She is literally transphobic. If you consider “transphobic” a uniquely condemning word only to be used for the most extreme transphobia, it is just possible she is “not transphobic” in that sense.

I don’t know which loos Izzard uses.

The path for trans women is well trodden by now. We seek a diagnosis from psychiatrists, then hormones and surgery. We transition, changing our name and presentation, to clearly coded-female clothes and hair. We call ourselves women and use women’s spaces. Eddie doesn’t. She uses pronouns interchangeably, and clothes sometimes masculine, sometimes feminine, sometimes a bit of both. I don’t know whether they seek any medical treatment, and it’s up to her whether he does and whether she speaks about it. Binary transition is OK, and being nonbinary OK too.

He says he’s a “transgender man”, and I say “trans includes nonbinary and gender-queer”, so that is accurate. He does not say he is nonbinary, he does not want classified or explained at all. Instead he behaves as if gender is this great, glorious playground and he can play in all of it not just half of it. They are a comedian! They provoke and entertain! They also like publicity.

Trans people are a battleground for the authoritarian nationalists and the oligarchs manipulating them. Nationalists need enemies. The Critic had a go again: “male transgenderism is sexism on steroids”, yawn. No-one should have any fun, everyone should be normal, and anyone not obeying these rules is an Enemy of the People. If the authoritarians can manipulate feminists to attack us too, they can undermine feminism as a bonus.

The trans excluders want us out of women’s spaces, but that would not satisfy them. If we left, they would want us to stop using women’s names. In our angry, frightened world, people will attack trans folk. We are the low status people anyone can pick on. Eddie says Rowling is “not transphobic” and the news exults and trans people wring our hands. Chill, people.

We will not be tolerated. All we can do is be ourselves proudly.

One problem is people claiming there is only one way to be trans, and others should follow their lead. Transmedicalists do that. I would rather Izzard had not defended Rowling, but it is one raindrop in the blizzard of hate we face. It does not mean Izzard is an enemy, I hope.

8 thoughts on “Eddie Izzard

  1. This is more or less similar to my way of thinking too. Which is why I started following your blog. Recently, I’ve been thinking deeply about where we lie as well. When the news broke about Izzard and their pronouns, I was happy for them. That was followed by Izzard’s stance on Rowling.

    My own stance is No matter how Rowling tries to sugar coat it, she’s a transphobe by my definition in the manner of excluding me because of how I was born. I read her essay, and posted my own rebuttal to it.

    As for Izzard, similar to you: I’m hoping what they say doesn’t equate to more fuel for the exclusionary fire.


    • I am very glad to have you here.

      Of course Rowling is a transphobe. She spreads myths against trans people. Her distaste talking of us is clear, even though she claims to have one trans woman as a friend (!) and does not want us to die.


  2. If I were my eleven-year-old self now, I don’t know that I’d be any less confused about how I fit into the world than I was almost sixty years ago. I had no information then, but there seems to be too much of it now. There are as many ways to be trans as there are trans people, and it has taken me most of my life to learn that. All we can hope for is that we can find our own ways, individually, without fear of the actions of others that would constrict us. Eddie Izzard would have been far from a role model to my young-self, though. I believe he/she/they is being enigmatic for a reason, even if beyond reasoning (for an eleven-year-old, anyway).


  3. I hope that too, as l like Eddie Izzard and have been to several of their shows and laughed and laughed. I have always considered Eddie/ ?Edi transvestite/ non-binary, like Glamrou and possibly Grayson Perry, though l don’t think either of those would stand up for JKR,but being a performer does give a person a platform so they should thus be careful of stoking the already burning fires of current transphobia (which l prefer to transhatred) as it considers the possibility that people’s negative life experiences may have psychologically effected them, but that doesn’t give them the right to try to annihilate other’s human rights!!). Thank you for continuing to highlight these kind of issues, Clare


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