Comedian Eddie Izzard, the performer who describes himself as 'gender fluid', says she does not believe JK Rowling is transphobic, following a backlash against the author’s comments on trans issues.

Ms Rowling has been embroiled in a trans row since last June, when she mocked a headline that included the inclusive phrasing “people who menstruate”.

The Edinburgh writer vehemently denies she is transphobic, has since spoken out on the topic of transgender rights several times, and wrote an essay on the issue that was countered by Harry Potter stars including Daniel Radcliffe.

Izzard, a 58-year-old stand-up, who says she doesn't mind if she is addressed as he or she, has now called for a more measured assessment of the Harry Potter author's stance on transgender issues.

The bestselling author supports the right to transition but has voiced fears that some trans campaigners are pursuing policies that undermine what it is to be a woman.

Izzard said: “I don't think JK Rowling is transphobic. I think we need to look at the things she has written about in her blog. Women have been through such hell over history. Trans people have been invisible, too.”

“I hate the idea we are fighting between ourselves, but it's not going to be sorted with the wave of a wand. I don't have all the answers. If people disagree with me, fine – but why are we going through hell on this?”

On being referred to as "she/her" on Sky Arts series Portrait Artist of the Year last month, a move that made headlines, Izzard said: “I didn't push for it. This isn't the big thing. I've been out for 35 years. When I was called 'she' on getting my honorary degree at Swansea (in 2019), no-one gave a monkey's... If they call me 'she' and 'her’, that's great – or 'he' and 'him’, I don't mind. I prefer to be called Eddie, that covers everything. I'm gender fluid."

HeraldScotland: Eddie Izzard

Ms Rowling was accused of being transphobic after responding to an article headlined “Creating a more equal post-Covid-19 world for people who menstruate”.

She tweeted:“‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

She defended her comments and said: “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction.

“If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”

In November the creators of West End musical Six refused to appear on the same BBC Radio 2 show as Ms Rowling. Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss said they would be unable to appear the Harry Potter author until she had made efforts 'to make amends with the trans community'.

In October, Network Rail was inundated with complaints after removing a poster backing JK Rowling at Edinburgh Waverley station.

The poster, which cost £1,200 to display backed the author's transgender rights and was placed at the station in July.

However, the poster was removed a few days after being erected as it breached the “code of acceptance” which “does not allow advertising that is likely to support or promote one viewpoint over another”.

Izzard has previously identified as a transvestite, frequently wearing dresses, make-up, heels and jewellery both on and off stage.

She has called herself "a lesbian trapped in a man's body", saying she feels like "a complete boy plus half a girl".