Eddie Izzard could ‘give up comedy’ to become first transgender MP
Eddie Izzard has said that he will give up comedy to run for Parliament – hoping to become the country’s first transgender MP.
There has never been an openly transgender Member of Parliament in UK history, despite record levels of MPs who identify as lesbian, gay and bisexual.
Members of Parliament sit in the House of Commons and vote to enact laws in the UK.
Izzard is a long-time stand-up comic, author, actor and political activist.
The closest a transgender person has come to Parliament is Labour’s Sophie Cook.
Cook came a close second to anti-LGBT Conservative Tim Loughton during the 2017 election in the East Worthing and Shoreham seat.
But comedian and activist Eddie Izzard, a long-time supporter of the Labour Party, has said that he plans to run for Parliament at the next election.
The ambitious comic had previously teased a run as the Labour candidate for Mayor of London – but given the incumbent Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan is hugely popular, it’s highly unlikely there’ll be a vacancy in the post anytime soon.
He said: “The plan was always to run [for office] in 2020, though Theresa May has changed that with her failed power grab. So now it’s the first general election after 2020.”
The star added that he would give up performing entirely if elected.
The comic said: “I would. It’s like [former MP] Glenda Jackson; she gave up acting for 25 years to concentrate on it, then she turns up back as King Lear.”
Izzard, a centrist, ran for an internal Labour Party position last year, but was outvoted by left-wing supporters of current Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
In the same interview, Izzard opened up about coming out as trans.
The comic explained that coming out as trans was by far one of the scariest things he could do, and in turn that made other obstacles less threatening.
“I think coming out as transgender allowed me to put myself in other terrifying situations and work them out once I was in them.
“I knew I would get through the bad, terrifying bit – and there was a lot of that when I was a street performer – and eventually get to a more interesting place.”
Izzard sometimes presents as male and sometimes as female.
Despite describing himself as a transvestite in the past, in recent years Izzard has more broadly described himself as transgender.
He explained last year during a marathon challenge: “I use it as a badge of identity – I am a transgender guy who came out 31 years ago.”
The star went on to explain that he often identifies as female and male – but that he felt society should not become so “obsessed” with gender.
“I’ve got boy genetics and girl genetics. We get obsessed by it in humanity. We’ve been obsessed for 5,000 years of civilisation and people are still being murdered – in Uganda they were trying to sentence people to death.
“If you look at a tiger, you go ‘ooh, tiger!’, we don’t go ‘girl tiger’ or ‘boy tiger’. We are obsessed by the genders because we grow up in one gender or another. No other animal is obsessed by our gender – they don’t give a monkeys about our gender.”
Izzard added that sexuality and gender identity should not matter, but rather what you do in life should be what defines a person.
“No matter what sex or sexuality, how you self-identity, or who you fancy, matters not one whit – what do you do in life? What do you make? What do you add to the human existence? That’s what’s matters.
“It all comes back to Nelson Mandela: Try and put something into the world, and leave something positive.
“The confidence that it has given me, coming out 31 years ago in 1985, is immense – but it was a very hard journey. Very hard.”
He finished by adding that he didn’t understand the “genetic cards” he had been given but that he was prepared to embrace himself.
“I identify somewhat boyish and somewhat girlish. I identify both, but I fancy women.
“I don’t know why, it’s just the genetic cards I’ve been given. A lot of people have said very nasty things to me, have fought me in the streets… but f**k them!
“Because this is real, and this has always been here, so let’s get the truth out, rather than running and hiding,” he added.
Izzard last year lost out in his bid for a spot on the executive of the Labour Party.
He had thrown his hat into the ring earlier in 2016 for a spot on the party’s National Executive Committee – the executive governing body of the Labour Party.
But the comic narrowly lost out, coming eighth with just six seats up for grabs.
Izzard received just 70,993 votes – while the sixth-placed candidate garnered 81,863.
A man was also in 2016 found guilty on a harassment charge after targeting Izzard with abuse.