Humphries, who began performing as Dame Edna in the 1950s, claims comments he made in 2016 deriding transgender women were misinterpreted, though he did not offer further clarification. “Nothing has been more grotesquely interpreted,” Humphries told The Sunday Times Magazine. “Edna carefully said she thought that men who had themselves castrated did not become women, and that got taken the wrong way.”
The defense came in regards to a 2016 interview in which Humphries–in his Dame Edna persona–agreed with Australian writer Germane Greer that transgender women are merely castrated men. “I agree with Germaine,” Humphries said at the time. “You’re a mutilated man, that’s all. Self-mutilation, what’s all this carry on? Caitlyn Jenner—what a publicity-seeking ratbag.”
In a 2018 interview, he described transgenderism as “a fashion,” further elaborating “how many different kinds of lavatory can you have? And it’s pretty evil when it’s preached to children by crazy teachers.” He also commended Donald Trump for “stirring up politics.”
Despite the controversy, the 85-year-old Humphries has announced that Dame Edna will come out of retirement later this year for a new tour.