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Eddie Izzard hopes to inspire LGBT community after ‘making a stand’ against homophobic abuse

By Fabio Crispim

Comedian Eddie Izzard has ‘made a stand’ against homophobic abuse after defending himself against a man who has been convicted of harassing him on multiple occasions.

According to the Guardian, Jamie Penny, who is autistic, was found guilty on two counts of using threatening and abusive words or behaviour with intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

Izzard told the court that the altercation with Penny occurred on April 3 when two men approached him as he was moving bags beside his vintage car.

One of them reportedly leaned in close and said, “You should give me a ride in your car.”

Izzard refused to give him a ride which prompted Penny to threaten the comedian: “Izzard, we are going to do your house when you are away.”

Then, a month later on May 4, Izzard was called a “f*cking poofter” by a man on the other side of the road near Victoria station. When asked by the court if Izzard recognised the man as Penny, he said: “I know it was the same guy who had shouted abuse at me, I am 100% sure.”

Speaking outside the court, Izzard hopes that he inspired the LGBT community by fighting against his harasser.

He said, “If you’re LGBT, you think back to 5,000 years ago – all the way back to the beginning of time – LGBT people have had a hard time.”

“I came out 31 years ago. You do get people shouting at you, but also ethnic minorities, it’s not how it should be in the 21st century.”

Izzard, who’s faced aggression from people for years, states that being threatened still leaves him anxious.

“The anxiety, it’s a difficult thing, but there are services there to try and help us and I’ve just tried to make a stand here. Hopefully this is the end of the story, hopefully life just goes on.”

“I do look a bit different, but hopefully in this century people are relaxing about it. Hopefully we’ve got ‘boring’. When LGBT hits boring, then we’ve made it.”

Izzard hopes his ‘stand’ would send a message to other LGBT people to fight against homophobia.

“Anyone who feels they are being threatened in the street by someone who is using threatening behaviour, they will think, ‘well if he’s doing that process maybe I’ll go through that process’.”

“We need to be joined together and be positive and live and let live. Treat other people as you’d like to be treated yourself – it’s the one line that’s in all the major religions, and if we all obeyed that one then it would all work.”

Under questioning, Penny claims it was his friend who threatened to “do” Izzard’s house however, he was given a restraining order, was ordered not to contact Izzard and will have to pay costs and compensation.

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