Okay, look. I am no happier with her defense of J. K. Rowling than anyone else. I won’t quite put her in the John Cleese “I just don’t think about transsexuals” camp, and not just because she herself is genderfluid. What I think is that she’s forgotten how lucky she is. She’s been open about her gender identity for so long that it hasn’t occurred to her that she’s perpetuating a climate that is harmful to people like her. Feminism in the UK seems to have missed a lot to do with intersectionalism, and that’s led to some really unfortunate attitudes. Izzard is, sigh, part of that.
Izzard was born in Yemen, where her father was an accountant for BP. The family traveled with Izzard senior’s job. Then, in 1968, her mother Dorothy died. Young Eddie was packed off to boarding school. She already considered herself transgender, though she didn’t have words for it yet, and she wanted to be an actor. She spent much of the ’80s as a street performer in Covent Garden before making the leap to stand-up comedy. She’s also done TV and movies, to varying degrees of success.
Honestly, I think I first saw her in Mystery Men. Even before her standup. But I got heavily into her act in college; I actually had a friend for years who I called Badger Guy after the “original sin” bit. I used to have a cat whose name was El Diablo, after her Spanish Inquisition routine. (I didn’t name the cat, whose brother was Don Miguel.) Various of my friends and I have been making references to bits of hers for years. There are entire chunks of her recordings that we can recite.
Two of her movies, however, are in the pantheon of Movies Where I Disagree With Roger Ebert. I really like The Cat’s Meow, and Izzard’s portrayal of a Charlie Chaplin nearly crippled with self-doubt is definitely part of it. It’s a movie that doesn’t get talked about much despite its packed cast. I like All the Queen’s Men, too, though it’s definitely flawed. I liked it better than I liked The Wild, I can tell you that. Though Roger and I definitely agreed on Shadow of the Vampire.
I’ve mentioned before that I have started scheduling people by now well over a year in advance. And I had this month figured out . . . and then she came out as genderfluid and announced she was using “she” pronouns. (Though apparently she doesn’t actually mind “he” pronouns, either.) So that’s why this month has been celebrating the nonbinary and genderfluid. I knew her decision was very much a me problem, but you can understand that I went there, given I had the same basic reaction when Gavin MacLeod died. Feeling the appropriate feelings regarding the person, but also a touch of personal concern.