Eddie Izzard Defends JK Rowling

Eddie Izzard Defending J.K. Rowling Isn’t the Energy We Need

Let's do better by 2021 and stop this transphobic narrative.

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It’s been amazing watching Eddie Izzard use her platform to promote gender fluidity and acceptance now that she’s using she/her pronouns. But like most icons, when we put them up on pedestals, there’s still room for nuanced conversation about how aspects of them are a let-down. I’m talking about how Izzard shocked the LGBTQ community with her support for J.K. Rowling, a.k.a. the author who continues to propagate transphobic rhetoric.

“I don’t think J.K. Rowling is transphobic,” Izzard said to The Telegraph. “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?”

Transphobic comments by Rowling fly in the face of the acceptance, love, and kindness that this author put front and center in the Harry Potter series. It shows her privilege and willingness to ignore Izzard herself, the trans community, and GLAAD when invited to hear from actual trans people and fans about the issues she’s spoken about. Izzard seems to think Rowling is doing no harm, but that is not the case.

Just read what Rowling said in her infamous personal essay published in June 2020, speaking out on sex and gender issues. Rowling said, “I refuse to bow down to a movement that I believe is doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode ‘woman’ as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators like few before it.”

This sort of language is transphobic. It erases trans people and their experiences for a narrative that makes it seem like predators use transitioning as a way of committing violence or sexual assault. That is simply not true. Trans people transition because at some point in their lives they understood that they were born in the wrong body. Therapy doesn’t alleviate that feeling. Change, hormone therapy, and transitioning does.

Sorry to break it to the transphobes of the world, but no one goes through surgery, mental and physical pain, or threats to their life life just to enter another sex’s bathroom. It’s an unrealistic dichotomy that could lead down dangerous roads because Izzard and Rowling have the kind of platform that people listen to and learn from. And right now, both of these celebrities are telling me and the trans community that Rowling’s comments, and those of people like her, are okay to put out there in the world because we should … support each other and not fight?

Supporting trans rights, trans people, or the trans community does not erase the lives or experiences of women or men. And we must hold people like J.K. Rowling accountable for her words, and Izzard for supporting people who spew damaging claims about the trans community. That’s how change happens, how important conversations start, and how we support the trans community in 2021.

(image: Matthew Horwood/FilmMagic)

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Lyra Hale
Lyra (She/Her) is a queer Latinx writer who stans badass women in movies, TV shows, and books. She loves crafting, tostones, and speculating all over queer media. And when not writing she's scrolling through TikTok or rebuilding her book collection.