Eddie Izzard has failed in her bid to become Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Sheffield Central.
Abtisam Mohamed, a local councillor, was selected by members of the local constituency party after winning 433 votes. Izzard came second with 175 votes. Rizwana Lana, backed by leftwing figures in the party including the MPs Nadia Whittome and Lloyd Russell-Moyle, got 173 votes.
Mohamed, the daughter of a Yemeni steelworker and human rights lawyer, called her selection “the honor of [her] life”. She will replace Paul Blomfield, who is standing down with a majority of 27,273.
On Twitter, she said: “We have faced huge amounts of abuse, racism or transphobia throughout this campaign. It has been very difficult to sift through this and continue to run positive campaigns. Yet, we all managed it.”
Izzard, 60, who became famous as a cross-dressing comedian and now identifies as a gender-fluid trans woman, congratulated Mohamed on her victory, tweeting: “She will make a fine MP and I look forward to campaigning with her in the months and years to come.”
Speaking to the Guardian in October, Izzard said she had suffered a “torrent of transphobic abuse” since announcing her candidacy.
A gender-critical feminist took a photo of Izzard using the women’s toilet at a campaign event in September, tweeting it with the caption “coming out of the ‘ladies’ loo”.
Lee Anderson, the MP for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire, was criticized after he told Talk TV in October that he “would not follow him [Izzard] into the toilets” if Izzard came to parliament.
Rosie Duffield, the Labor MP for Canterbury in Kent, suggested that she would rather be arrested than refer to Izzard as “a woman”. In response to Duffield’s comments, Izzard said: “She has got to join the 21st century. She she’s got to catch up with the rest of us. The vast majority of the world is now moving forwards.”
Izzard said 98% of people she met in Sheffield wished her luck and that she received abuse only from a “vocal minority”.
Izzard announced her adoption of “she” and “her” pronouns two years ago. Speaking to the Guardian, Izzard said she did not mind being called “he/him” and said: “I am not telling anyone else to do anything.”
“Changing my pronouns after a number of years being out just seemed to align more with how I was living my life,” she said.
Izzard was the only candidate on the shortlist not to live in Sheffield, though she insisted she was better placed to represent the constituency than a “supercharged local councillor”, because “their activism has been local and my activism has been national and international”.
She has been a Labor party member since 1995 and started an accounting degree in Sheffield in the 1980s before dropping out to pursue a career in comedy. She lives in London, but had promised to move her “main residence” to Sheffield.