Is Eddie Izzard a woman? Her nonconforming gender identity explained

By Sonam Peldon — ON Jun 13, 2022
Eddie Izzard
Eddie Izzard at a Labour Party rally in Newport on December 4, 2019 | Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Eddie Izzard, best known for her eccentric stand-up monologues, has pushed the boundaries of gender norms for decades. From dressing up in skirts to wearing makeup, the comedian has always said that she relates to both extreme ends of the gender spectrum and has refused to put a label on herself until recently.

Izzard has identified with being transgender and transvestite in the past to being gender-fluid over the years.

Key Points

  • Eddie Izzard identifies as a gender-fluid person and recently assigned the “she/her” pronouns to herself.
  • Izzard came out as transgender in 1985 and had described herself as a transvestite in the past.
  • Izzard chooses not to transition as she feels that she has both “boy and girl genetics” and does not identify with a specific gender.

Eddie Izzard describes herself as gender-fluid and says that she is a “tomboy-tomgirl kind of person”

Eddie Izzard formally came out as transgender in 1985 at 23 years old but she knew that she was different ever since she was four. Although her family was supportive, Izzard encountered “tons of ridicule and opposition” from others for coming out and expressing herself in unconventional attire.

“I felt it was better to come out even though people suggested that I didn’t. I knew I would get to a better place. I think that is part of my strength… My strength comes from me coming out in 1985,” she said in a 2019 interview with Windy City Times.

At the time, Izzard had not assigned any specific gender pronouns to herself and instead preferred to be referred to as either “he” or “she” depending on whether she was in “a girl mode or a boy mode”.

“I am kind of gender fluid. I have boy mode and girl mode. I want to express both sides of myself, which have always been there. I am a tomboy and tomgirl kind of person,” she said.

She told Interview Magazine in 2014 that she no longer defines what she does as transvestism and explained that definitions have changed. She is only focused on portraying an honest expression of her innate masculinity and femineity, whether it is through wearing dresses or makeup. Izzard said:

“I wear whatever I want whenever I want. I don’t call it drag; I don’t even call it cross-dressing. It’s just wearing a dress… Sometimes I’ll go around and wear makeup in the streets, turn up to the gig, take the makeup off, do the show, and then put the makeup back on. It’s not about artifice. It’s about me just expressing myself.”

Eddie Izzard on q with Tom Power | Courtesy of CBC Radio One

Izzard adopted the ‘she/her’ pronoun in December 2020 and said that she “just wants to be based in girl mode”

While appearing in an episode of the 7th season of Portrait Artist of the Year in December 2020, Izzard publicly requested to be acknowledged with the “she/her” pronoun, saying that she “just wants to be based in girl mode from now on”.

“Well, I try to do things that I think are interesting, and this is the first program I’ve asked if I can be ‘she’ and ‘her.’ The transition period,” said Izzard about why she decided on the pronouns.

She further felt that people might identify her as a “he/him” based on her previous appearances and stressed the point of her being a gender-fluid person.

In the past, Izzard had identified as a transvestite and described herself as “a lesbian trapped in a man’s body”. Her outspokenness about her transvestitism dates back to the 1992 Edinburgh Festival where she told The Independent:

“People ask me why I wear women’s dresses. But I keep telling them, they’re not women’s dresses. They’re my dresses.”

Likewise, in a subsequent interview with The Independent in 2004, she defined herself as a “straight transvestite or male lesbian”, saying:

“It seems we are beyond the idea that I am gay and hiding it. If I had to describe how I feel in my head, I’d say I’m a complete boy plus half a girl.”

Izzard chooses not to transition as she feels that she does not belong in a specific category of gender

Izzard may have initially defined her orientation as transgender; however, she has clarified that she has not transitioned and would choose not to do so.

“[I do not take hormone therapy] although I could transition. But I have got some of these boy genetics going on, I really think it is genes but I can’t prove that at the moment. If I transition over, I’ll be on the other side of the fence,” she said while appearing on The Joe Rogan Experience.

As a result, she best describes herself as genderfluid since she does not conform to any typical gender norms or standards.