Dame Edna creator defends ‘grotesquely interpreted’ anti-trans remarks

Dame Edna participates with her fans in a Zumba fitness class at Martin Place on January 15, 2013 in Sydney, Australia.

Dame Edna creator Barry Humphries has no regrets when it comes to making comments antagonising the transgender community.

Humphries, who is bringing Dame Edna out of retirement and back on the stage, claimed his remarks had been misunderstood—although he did not offer an alternative interpretation.

“Nothing has been more grotesquely interpreted,” he told The Sunday Times Magazine in an interview published on Sunday (March 17), referring to the inflammatory comments made in 2016.

Dame Edna Everage, aka Barry Humphries attends a Royal Wedding International Media Event in London West End at Lancaster House on April 26, 2011

Dame Edna creator Barry Humphries does not regret anti-trans remarks. (Tim Whitby/Getty)

At the time, the comedian defended his fellow Australian and friend, the philosopher Germaine Greer, who described transgender women as “men who believe that they are women and have themselves castrated.”

Humphries said he agreed with Greer, and mentioned Caitlyn Jenner as part of the discussion.

“I agree with Germaine! You’re a mutilated man, that’s all. Self-mutilation, what’s all this carry on? Caitlyn Jenner—what a publicity-seeking ratbag,” he told The Telegraph.

“Edna carefully said she thought that men who had themselves castrated did not become women, and that got taken the wrong way.”

— Dame Edna creator Barry Humphries

Three years since that interview, Humphries’ stance has not changed.

“Edna carefully said she thought that men who had themselves castrated did not become women, and that got taken the wrong way,” he told The Sunday Times Magazine.

In the interview, which featured a number of bizarre statements such as: “There are no Australians in Australia any more. Only Chinese,” Humphries referenced the case of Dutch media personality Emile Ratelband, who in December was denied a request to legally decrease his age by 20 years.

The Dame Edna creator, who himself says he feels “about 52” appeared to sympathise with Ratelband, remarking: “He wasn’t allowed. One can change one’s pronoun, but not one’s age.”

Humphries also denied that Dame Edna is a lesbian. “As she once said, she doesn’t even like the word. It leaves a nasty taste in her mouth,” he said.

Dame Edna creator Barry Humphries said ‘crazy teachers’ indoctrinate children on transgender issues

The 2016 comments about Caitlyn Jenner weren’t the only instance in which Humphries made anti-transgender statements.

In a 2018 interview with the Spectator, Humphries accused transgender campaigners who have criticised him of “terrible rat-baggery.”

He also claimed that being transgender is “a fashion,” accusing “crazy teachers” of promoting trans issues to children.

“How many different kinds of lavatory can you have? And it’s pretty evil when it’s preached to children by crazy teachers,” he said.