Gender Fluid Comic Eddie Izzard Comes to JK Rowling's Defense

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday January 4, 2021

Openly gender fluid British comic Eddie Izzard came to the defense of "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling, saying in an interview that women and trans people should not be fighting each other and that people should read what Rowling has had to say about the issue, Entertainment Weekly reports.

In an interview with U.K. newspaper The Telegraph (which is behind a paywall), Izzard - who recently announced that she uses female pronouns - said she does not "think J.K. Rowling is transphobic," as some have accused Rowling of being.

"I think we need to look at the things she has written about in her blog," Izzard went on to say, Entertainment Weekly reports. "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," Izzard added. "I don't have all the answers. If people disagree with me, fine, but why are we going through hell on this?"

Rowling became embroiled in controversy last June when she took exception to an op-ed that referred to "people who menstruate," posting a tart tweet in which she wrote, "I'm sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?"

The following month she sparked new outrage when she called gender affirmation treatments "a new kind of conversion therapy for young gay people."

Rowling waded back into the fracas last month when she told Good Housekeeping magazine that "Many women are concerned about the challenges to their fundamental rights posed by certain aspects of gender identity ideology."

Rowling went on to add that there is a "climate of fear" around the issue, saying, "Many are afraid to speak up because they fear for their jobs and even for their personal safety."

"I believe everybody should be free to live a life that is authentic to them, and that they should be safe to do so," Rowling added. "I also believe that we need a more nuanced conversation around women's rights and around the huge increase in numbers of girls and young women who are seeking to transition."

Rowling says she is not transphobic, posting that she does "want trans women to be safe."

However, Rowling - who has said that she is a survivor of sexual assault and domestic abuse - has also said she does not "want to make natal girls and women less safe," and worried that "throw[ing] open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he's a woman" could present dangers.

Her comments have prompted pushback from celebrities and transgender equality advocates. Others, however, have risen to her defense.

Izzard's recent announcement regarding pronouns, made on a British television special, is of a piece with her previous comments regarding her gender identity. "I am essentially transgender," Izzard told the Hollywoord Reporter in 2017. "I have boy mode and girl mode. I do feel I have boy genetics and girl genetics."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.