Way back in the day, I remember being so thrilled to see “Dame Edna” on TV. It was always like getting a little glimpse to a different world that I knew, somehow, I belonged in. No, Dame Edna wasn’t a lesbian. And yes, I know that Barry Humphries, the Australian man who created and personifies her, is not a gay man. Still, he was a man in a dress, pretending to be a woman, and that was — at the time — close enough for me.
Dame Edna has, of course, always drawn a gay audience. And why not? This is, basically, a drag queen elevated to mega-stardom before RuPaul got his own reality competition TV show. But as of today, I can tell you this is one gay person (me) who is no longer a fan of the Dame. Not after hearing what Humphries had to say about Caitlyn Jenner and transgender women in general.
According to an article by Bil Browning in The Advocate, in an interview published Jan. 4 in The Telegraph, a British newspaper, Humphries called Jenner “a publcity-seeking ratbag” as part of his vigorous defense of his friend and fellow Australian, feminist Germaine Greer. It’s not that I am a big Caitlyn Jenner fan. It’s what Humphries said about trans people in general that pisses me off.
Last month, Greer attacked Jenner, accusing her of “stealing the limelight” from her notorious family, the Kardashians, and doubled down on her condemnation of transgender women in general, saying, as Browning notes, that trans women are not actually women and that they don’t “look like, sound like or behave like” women. And earlier, in a written statement she issued after canceling a scheduled appearance at Cardiff University after trans advocates protested, Greer declared: “Just because you lop off your dick and then wear a dress doesn’t make you a fucking woman. I’ve asked my doctor to give me long ears and liver spots and I’m going to wear a brown coat but that won’t turn me into a fucking cocker spaniel… A man who gets his dick chopped off is actually inflicting an extraordinary act of violence on himself.”
That right there is enough to convince me to never ever support or endorse in any way anything Germaine Greer might have to say. And Humphries, as far as I am concerned, joined Greer on my blacklist when he defended her in The Telegraph.
“I agree with Germaine!,” he told the newspaper. “You’re a mutilated man, that’s all. Self-mutilation, what’s all this carry on? Caitlyn Jenner – what a publicity-seeking ratbag. It’s all given the stamp – not of respectability, but authenticity or something. If you criticise anything you’re racist or sexist or homophobic.”
He went on say that even though he isn’t particularly conservative, he is disgusted by the increasing level of political correctness in college students and feminists. He told The Telegraph, “I don’t know anything about politics. But the far left is so conservative, paradoxically, inflexible, doctrinaire and humorless. You can’t describe the world as it is any more. You get jumped on. I’m happy to say I do. I give offense therefore I am. Not too much offense, though.”
Not too much offense, Mr. Humphries? Enough, I’d say. Enough to lose this former fan.
According to Wikipedia, Humprhies said in March 2012 that he would be retiring Dame Edna at the end of his then-current tour. In 2013, however, he announced he had decided to bring her back. Too bad, if you ask me. Some old dinosaurs should stay extinct.