Graham Norton declares trans people must be ‘protected, rather than feared’

Graham Norton

Graham Norton has insisted that trans people “need to be protected, rather than feared”, and condemned the abuse the trans community receives online.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Graham Norton compared Twitter to a “24-hour pub brawl”, and said: “I feel like trans people are a very vulnerable group and a tiny group, and it’s been conflated into this thing, as if there are trans armies coming over the hills.”

He emphasised that trans people “need to be protected, rather than feared” and, referencing the increasingly hostile discourse surrounding trans rights in the UK, added: “Any group looking for equality and progress will only get there if there’s an ‘extremist’ vanguard, and that’s how you shift things to the middle ground.”

Norton recently admitted he missed out on being part of the vanguard who “fought for tolerance in Ireland”, saying that he “took the easy way out” by moving to London.

The RuPaul’s Drag Race UK panellist, 57, grew up in Bandon, County Cork in Ireland before moving away to pursue an acting career.

In the acknowledgements for his recent book Home Stretch, Norton paid tribute to “all the people who stayed in Ireland to fight for the modern tolerant place it has become”.

He said: “I moved where the gays were. I went to London. Where nobody knew me so there was none of that scariness and there were gay bars that were just on the street so I could walk in, and meet other gay people.

“And I don’t want to be glib about it, because those people who stayed, who went on the marches and did the petitions, are nameless and faceless and I’ll never get to actually thank them, but they did the hard work.

“I am aware that Ireland isn’t Nirvana – and I think if young people hear me talking they’ll think ‘what is wrong with him? It’s horrible here…’ Well, try being here in the late 70s!

“People should be proud of themselves. Ireland is transformed.”