Even Eddie Izzard hesitates on Scotland’s gender bill
The comedian says it isn't transphobic to oppose it
I don’t know if the candidates to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as leader of the SNP have had time to consult Eddie Izzard. But the comedian has entered one of the great debates in Scotland at the moment, advising that it is not transphobic to oppose the Gender Recognition Reform Bill. Phew! It will come as a great relief to all of us who opposed the proposed law to discover that we’re not bigots after all.
Izzard’s foray into Scottish politics is instructive. He wants to be a Labour MP, confirming this week that he’s still looking for a seat after his recent setback in Sheffield Central. It must be hard for Izzard and anyone else with political ambitions to keep up: the Labour leadership at Westminster is desperate not to be accused of ‘transphobia’ but the Scottish legislation was a step too far even for them. Most Labour MPs abstained in a vote at Westminster on the UK Government’s veto of the legislation, with only a handful voting against.
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Straws in the wind? I’m not sure that many women who criticised the bill will feel like taking lessons from Izzard on what is or isn’t ‘transphobic’, but it seems as though something is changing. Labour’s line on the (apparently) vexed question of how to define a woman is evolving, with the party’s chair, Anneliese Dodds, acknowledging the difference between sex and gender in an interview at the weekend. This time last year, Dodds attracted disbelief with a woeful performance on Woman’s Hour on International Women’s Day, when she couldn’t give a straight answer to the question “what is a woman?”
On Matt Forde’s Political Party podcast, Izzard accused some people of being ‘transphobic’ when he was trying to get selected as a candidate in Sheffield. (Of course he did. Why else would anyone object to a man who insists on using women’s toilets and telling us he is in ‘girl mode’?) But his take on the GRR bill was unexpected, consisting of an admission that the length of time people should wait before changing their legal gender was a “tricky question”.
It’s odd that he couldn’t be more specific, given that the Scottish legislation requires adults to live in their acquired gender (whatever that means) for only three months before getting a gender recognition certificate. But then Izzard is hardly a deep thinker on the subject, telling Forde he doesn’t know how many genders there are: “We’re all somewhere on the spectrum, we have just got to chill out about it,” he announced airily.
That’s easy to say as a famous actor who is fawned on by most of the media, referred to as ‘she’ when he is obviously a man. Izzard can’t get through an interview without revealing his extraordinary self-regard, challenging Forde’s assumption that even if he were to be elected to Parliament, he would find himself on the backbenches. “Do I have to be backbench?” he demurred.
What he might have to be, if he really wants to be an MP, is a great deal clearer about the importance of sex. Women’s experience, from being paid less to experiencing high levels of male violence, is founded in biology. Izzard’s belief that human beings can identify in and out of sex at will is hugely damaging to women — and it isn’t ‘transphobic’ to say so.
How swiftly a leopard can change its spots when it suits. Eddie must want a seat really badly. He’s obviously realised he’s out of step with the party’s current thinking. While many if us a happy that the Labour Party is recognising that we are biologically different to men, the prospect of izzard as an MP is not an attractive one, regardless of his dresdful dress sense.
Eddie Izzard can call himself Suzy to his heart’s content. The practice could become as traditional as women named Michael, from Miss Michael Learned to Princess Michael of Kent. Izzard used to say that, “They are not women’s clothes, they are my clothes, I bought them.” Who could have argued with that? Yet now he calls himself “she”. He does not do so as a harmless quirk. To be polite or compassionate, some of us might have indulged that. Male transvestism is one of the most venerable of British eccentricities. But Izzard is using feminine pronouns as a pretext for accessing women’s single-sex facilities. Therefore, and however regretfully, we do have to insist against it.The case of Wayne Couzens has put indecent exposure in the news. Well, neither in Iran, nor even in Afghanistan, would a mother who took her small daughter into the women’s showers or changing rooms be confronted, at the little girl’s eye level, with postpubescent male genitalia. That may not be the worst form of sexual assault, but it is a form. As is being made to imagine other people’s genitals, a mental image that transgender activists insist on inflicting upon the rest of us. All of this was inconceivable in 2010. It has happened entirely under the people who allow the unwitting to imagine that they are against it. Although, to give them their due, they never quite claim that they are.
My own hunch is that Eddie will be successful in his bid to become an MP. Could she become Labour’s first woman Prime Minister?
Why not of course Keir Starmer sees no reason he couldn’t be Labour’s first woman Prime Minister.
I presume that you are joking. Eddie may become an MP but he will always be a He and therefore, a man.
Eddie is a remarkable person, honest and transparent. His endeavors on his running we truly inspirational, he is rationale, and I think doesn’t have extreme views. A good person.
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