Atheism, Transgender, and “The Invisible Bloke Upstairs”


Becky Garrison reports on a Q&A with comedian Eddie Izzard at Harvard University in "Eddie Izzard on Atheism, Transgender, and 'The Invisible Bloke Upstairs'” published by the Religion Dispatches. Izzard was receiving the 7th Annual Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism — an award presented at Harvard University each year by the Humanist Community at Harvard, the American Humanist Association, and the Harvard Community of Humanists, Atheists, and Agnostics.

Izzard is a comedian, an actor, and an aspiring politician (running for mayor of London in 2020). He also identifies as a transvestite (some would call a crossdresser), saying,

When I first came out, I went to a transsexual/transgender support group, where I was talking to a transvestite lawyer. He said, “I’m looking at it as a gift.” So I thought of this as a positive way of looking at it. ... If you are an alternative sexuality, you have to look at it as a gift or otherwise it’s going to grind you down. In the end, I’m a much more positive person for having come out.

Izzard also identifies as an athiest, saying, "I call myself a spiritual atheist—I don’t believe in gods. I believe in us and that’s how it works."

Referencing bias against non-theists, Izzard makes a parallel to coming out as a transvestite,

I’ve just decided I’m going to live it [i.e. identifying as an atheist instead of agnostic]. And that’s what it was. I suddenly realized I was hiding behind myself and it was best to just come out in front. It’s kind of like being a transvestite. I think gradually people just move on over that.

Izzard shows thoughtful knowledge of religious history, as well as concern for making the world a better place throughout his comments.

Read the full article on Religion Dispatches: Eddie Izzard on Atheism, Transgender, and 'The Invisible Bloke Upstairs' by Becky Garrison

Video of the event is posted on Vimeo by the Humanist Community Project at Harvard University.

Another interview of Izzard in the LA Weekly is also referenced: Eddie Izzard at the Hollywood Bowl by Gustavo Turner q