Eddie Izzard opens up about being an LGBTQ+ role model and shares powerful message about Pride in 2024

Virgin Radio

3 Jun 2024, 15:52

Credit: Virgin Radio Pride

Eddie Izzard has candidly discussed her experiences about coming out as trans nearly 40 years ago, and her view on the importance of Pride in 2024.

She joined Virgin Radio Pride host Steve Denyer for the first edition of My Pride Playlist this year, and opened up about everything - from early career aspirations, to her new one-woman production of Hamlet in London.

Eddie, who also goes by Suzy Izzard, publicly came out in 1985, choosing to then tell her father and the press six years later. 



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Having had a majorly successful career as a stand-up, actor and activist, all while living as herself across the 80s, 90s and beyond, it’s no wonder why many within the LGBTQ+ view Eddie as a role model, and when Steve asked about that very topic, it seems the stage and screen star was keen to act as an advocate for herself first. 

“It was more selfish than that,” Eddie joked. “I was wanting to be in the [armed] forces when I was a kid, that was this idea that I could fight. Then I thought, ‘Actually which war they're gonna send me to? Because I want to go and fight World War Two all over again. But that's not going to happen. So I didn't do that. 

“I was ready, this is me, so let's be honest about this. If people give me a hard time and attack me in the streets, which they have, or hurl abuse at me in the streets, which they have, I'll just stand up for myself.”

The discrimination Eddie has faced didn't cause the Doctor Jekyll to change anything about her nature, in fact it’s shaped who she is on a day-to-day basis when travelling around not just other countries, but her home territory too.  

“I carry myself in a certain way,” she added. “I'm a citizen, I pay my taxes, I have a right to be here. I don't go around as if I should apologise, so just like any citizen of any country would say. I'm here and I'm fine. I'm treating other people like I want to be treated. I try and be as polite as I can, so I'm being my own authentic self. 

Eddie admitted she’s “very proud” to have come out when she did, making sure to tell the press so that her career could flourish without “living a lie.”

She continued: “My career was nowhere when I came out, I didn't have a career and then it gradually was about to come out and that’s when I told the press, so it was out so I wasn't going to live a lie. So that was all the fighting that happened.

“When I told the press about it, they were just a bit bemused. I was mainly wearing trousers at that point. And I thought, ‘Okay, I'll throw on some makeup and a dress.’ Then they went, ‘Oh so you are trans, but you look a mess’, so I said, ‘Ok, I’ve gotta work on that’. 

When it comes to what Pride means to her in 2024, Eddie said she reckons there’s been an monumental shift in LGBTQ+ acceptance, but there's still plenty of work to be done, adding: “When we hit boring, then we’ve made it.”

“When people say, ‘I’m gay, lesbian, trans,’ and they go, ‘Fine, but what do you do?’ ‘Oh, I'm a librarian,’ I'm gonna ask you, ‘Are you a good librarian? Are you a good astronaut?’ Because that's what we want to have. That’s it, when we hit boring, and it's getting more boring, which is good.”

On how far acceptance has come, Eddie shared: “When I came out in ‘85, there were no conversations about being trans. I was just considered a non-person, a toxic person, and there were no conversations happening. I realised the conversations had to start.

“I believe in the future, we'll get to a place where people will say, ‘yes women's rights are human rights and trans rights are human rights. End of story.”

Virgin Radio Pride UK is on air until 31st August 2024. Ask your smart speaker to “play Virgin Radio Pride". Get us online, on virginradiopride.co.uk, on the free Virgin Radio app or on DAB Digital radio in Greater London and Scotland.