Man behind Dame Edna Everage calls Caitlyn Jenner 'mutilated'

Jan 5, 2016 at 2:01 p.m. ET
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Australian comedian Barry Humphries, better known by most as his alter ego Dame Edna Everage, may have made a living out of pretending to be female, but when it comes to trans women, he has a very extreme view — which he made clear in a recent interview.

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[A transgender woman] is a mutilated man, that’s all”, he told The Telegraph. “Self-mutilation, what’s all this carry on?”

One high-profile trans woman in particular appears to have got the 81-year-old comedian's back up.

"Caitlyn Jenner — what a publicity-seeking ratbag", he ranted. "It’s all given the stamp — not of respectability, but authenticity or something. If you criticise anything you’re racist or sexist or homophobic".

Humphries' comments echo those of his friend and fellow Australian Germaine Greer, who once said "lopping off your d*** and wearing a dress doesn’t make you a f***ing woman". Greer has also directly attacked Jenner, accusing her of transitioning so she could steal attention from her Kardashian co-stars.

Humphries also caused controversy recently when he told Radio Times that the only reason ITV drama Downton Abbey was a success in America is that "there are no black people in it".

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Clearly nobody pointed out to Humphries that the fifth most watched show in America last year (with over 17 million viewers) was Empire, which has an almost entirely non-white cast.

But does the ageing comedian really mean what he says, or is he simply trying to remain controversial to keep people talking about him? It's telling that he told Radio Times that it is "quite important" to him that he causes offence, adding, "It’s very easy to become a safe figure and tempting, too, to want to be all things to all people".

At the age of 81, Humphries obviously doesn't give two hoots what anyone thinks of him or what comes out of his mouth — whether as himself or as Dame Edna, and the lines are often blurred. But age can't be used as an excuse for rudeness, and to describe someone who goes through the life-changing anguish of a sex change "mutilated" is that and nothing else.

What's your take on Humphries' comments? Let us know your thoughts.

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