Eddie Izzard defends J.K. Rowling, explains pronoun preferences: 'I prefer to be called Eddie, that covers everything. I’m gender-fluid.'

Megan Johnson
·4 min read
British comedian Eddie Izzard is publicly defending 'Harry Potter' author J.K. Rowling's stance on transgender issues. (Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
British comedian Eddie Izzard is publicly defending Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling's stance on transgender issues. (Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

British comedian Eddie Izzard, who recently asked to be identified with “she” and “her” pronouns, is coming out in defense of author J.K. Rowling’s stance on transgender issues.

“I don’t think J.K. Rowling is transphobic. I think we need to look at the things she has written about in her blog,” Izzard, 58, told the Daily Telegraph in a new interview.

“Women have been through such hell over history,” the star added in reference to the controversy surrounding the Harry Potter author’s comments. “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 has received significant criticism after taking issue with an online article which described “people who menstruate.”

“‘People who menstruate.' I'm sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” the famed author tweeted to her followers, which was met with horror by many.

In a lengthy follow-up Twitter thread, Rowling elaborated her feelings, which were quickly deemed offensive since transgender, non-binary and gender-nonconforming people can also menstruate.

“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased,” she tweeted. “I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”

In response to allegations of transphobia, Rowling declared that she has been “empathetic to trans people for decades,” adding that the idea she “hates” trans people is nothing but “nonsense.”

'I'd march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans. At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it's hateful to say so,” said Rowling. “I've spent much of the last three years reading books, blogs and scientific papers by trans people, medics and gender specialists. I know exactly what the distinction is. Never assume that because someone thinks differently, they have no knowledge.”

Izzard’s response to Rowling’s statements came as a surprise, particularly since the comedian has openly requested to be identified with “she” and “her” pronouns. After a long history of wearing makeup and dresses, Izzard appeared on the Sky Arts series Portrait Artist of the Year last month and made her first public request to be referred to by female pronouns.

"I try to do things that I think are interesting,” Izzard said during the show, the British Comedy Guide reported. “This is the first program I've asked if I can be 'she' and 'her' — this is a little transition period."

She added that making the announcement “feels great” because “people assume that ... they just know me from before, but I'm gender-fluid. I just want to be based in girl mode from now on."

While Izzard first came out in 1985, calling her experience “a very hard journey,” her announcement last month was met with overwhelming support from fans and peers.

But while speaking to the Telegraph, the “gender-fluid” Izzard somewhat downplayed the pronoun announcement, saying she “didn’t push for it.”

“This isn’t the big thing. I’ve been out for 35 years,” the Dressed to Kill comic said.

“Your brain gets coded male or female when you’re young. Mine got coded both ways. I have the gift of both, although it doesn’t feel like a gift at first,” she told the Telegraph. “If they call me ‘she’ and ‘her,’ that’s great — or ‘he’ and ‘him,’ I don’t mind. I prefer to be called Eddie, that covers everything. I’m gender-fluid.”

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