A man found guilty of harassing an out trans comedian with abuse

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JUNE 10: British comedian and actor Eddie Izzard campaigns for the Labour In campaign for the EU referendum on June 10, 2016 in Manchester, England. Eddie Izzard joined Labour activitists to campaign on the streets of Hulme, Manchester and canvass for votes fo UK citizens to stay in the European Union when they vote in the EU Referendum on the June 23. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The gender non-conforming comic, marathon runner and Labour Party activist Eddie Izzard has never hidden his transgender identity (or being a transvestite, as he used to describe himself before). He appeared in court last week to give evidence against a man he says targeted him with homophobic and transphobic abuse.

24-year-old Jamie Penny, who is on the Autistic spectrum, was found guilty of two counts of using threatening and abusive words or behaviour with intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress. Penny was arrested after he allegedly threatened to “do” Mr Izzard’s house when the star refused him and a lift in his car. A month later, in May, he apparently called Mr Izzard a “f*cking poofter” after seeing him again – leading prosecutors to treat his actions as a hate crime. In his statement to the court, Mr Izzard said: “I am tough, I have run marathons, I wanted to stand up for myself otherwise you become a victim.” Asked why he swore back at Penny during the first confrontation, he said: “Over years people have said very nasty things to me. I prefer to stand my ground. I do stand up for my rights and other people’s rights.”

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