Eddie Izzard has credited trans icons Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner with tackling “toxic” transphobia and making things “easier” for her.
In December, the gender-fluid comedian and activist delighted fans after she bravely requested to be referred to with “she” and “her” pronouns, causing “collective gender euphoria” on LGBT+ Twitter.
Izzard, 58, has previously said she is “a lesbian trapped in a man’s body” and “a complete boy plus half girl”.
Speaking on the RunPod podcast, Izzard described how attitudes towards her gender identity and expression have changed, and said: “I came out as transgender when I was 23, back in 1985, so 35 years ago. That was a very tough thing to do… It was toxic back in ’85. It was toxic in the nineties. Being transgender was never cool.”
But, she said: “The tipping point was when a number of things happened in America – from Vanity Fair for Caitlyn Jenner [to be on the cover] to Laverne Cox getting Woman of the Year [from Glamour magazine] and the series Transparent winning the Golden Globe. America is such an engine.
“When things happen there, it pushes it out around the world. That helped us… It’s made it easier for me.”
Despite most fans’ celebration of Izzard’s decision to use she/her pronouns, she has faced some backlash from anti-trans groups.
Anti-trans lobby group LGB Alliance decided last month to confront the comedian about her pronouns.
LGB Alliance wrote on Twitter: “Hi Eddie Izzard, happy holidays! Some of those who’ve always admired you are feeling rather let down by your announcement. We feel sure you didn’t mean to cause offence.
“We’d like to invite you to discuss it on a Zoom call. Please get in touch.”
The anti-trans group did not make clear what purpose a Zoom call with Izzard would serve, or why their members felt “let down” and “offended” by her pronouns.
The confusing tweet was met with swift criticism, with one Twitter user writing: “Not a single trans person on this earth has to apologise to any of your Gender Calvinist hive mind for existing. Trans rights are human rights.”