I knew I was a transvestite at the age of four
As his new film A Revenger's Tragedy hits cinemas next week, Eddie reveals the battles he's faced as a straight man who also enjoys dressing up in female clothing
Now Magazine | 02.13.03 |thanks Mimi

Do men's attitudes towards you change when they see you in a dress?
I'd be happy to be taken as a woman - and that's what I was initially trying to do when I started throwing on dresses and stuff. But that wasn't going to happen because everyone kept calling me'sir. So I thought I'd change the whole method and just wear what I wanted to wear.

I'm a bloke in a dress. I think the majority of people don't give a monkey's arse. But straight men find it the most difficult to deal with. They feel that their sexuality is challenged. With most people, If I'm relaxed, I can relax them. Otherwise they start going: 'How i do I react? How do I read?' and their brain goes into meltdown. Only about 10 per cent of people get screwed up about it. But then, they're probably dealing with their own issues.

How do women react to you when you're dressed as a woman?
Some women have a problem about it. But women who can string a sentence together tend to react better.

Have you ever had a fantasy about a guy while you've been dressed up like a woman?
I've tried to. I think Johnny Depp is a very attractive guy. But I still don't want to shag him. I like his work and I think he looks fantastic. When Johnny did a cross-dressing role in Before Night Falls, he looked better than I did - so that pissed me off. But it isn't happening for me with men.

I knew when I was four that I was transvestite and that's it. I seem to be a male lesbian or a male tomboy I can't work out why it's that way. I'm open for being gay, but it's not happening. It looks like I'm hiding from being gay. But, look, if I take all this flak for being a transvestite, why the hell would I hide being gay? If I were gay, I'd be gay, but I fancy women. But I think there's a lot of guys who'd like me.

What is the fascination for you?
Being free to wear whatever clothes at whatever time I want fulfills the urge to express my feminine side. Like I said, I've known that side of me exists since I was four.

I've calmed down a lot, in the sense that I have no secret that someone can find out. I'm a transvestite and there's no power for anyone to discover anything any more.

I keep analysing myself - and what's in my brain - to try and find an explanation. I think alternative sexuality is incredibly healthy because you have to fight and struggle with it and it makes you grow.

What do you think your life would have been like if you'd lived in a place where you couldn't express your sexuality?
I'd have hanged myself! No... I don't know, actually. There are people in their seventies who still haven't said they're transvestites or transgender or gay or whatever. I don't really want to think about that, but I just thank God I'm not there.

What were you thinking when you decided to tell all?
I thought 'Yes, I'll tell everyone. I'll make this grand gesture' But ft was a stupid idea. It would just be a silly line. Having said it, you can't take it back I thought: 'How can I do it?' But I had to in the end.

Did you think being a transvestite could hurt your career?
No. I told my dad I thought the public could deal with it. And he said: 'OK, that's good to hear.' He was very cool when I told him I was a transvestite.

What was that moment like?
I just said: 'I'm a transvestite.' And he went: 'Oh, yeah? OK' My mum died when I was a kid and then he sent me a letter saying: 'I'm OK about it and I think your mum would have been as well.' Which was really nice.

Some people tell me I'm playing a character. But I'm not, that's my sexuality. At the moment I'm kind of blokey with facial hair, to do guy roles. But I'll just keep changing my look I'll tour in make-up or not in make-up and keep moving my appearance around.

Some people say I wasn't getting anywhere until I started putting on make-up, which isn't we. But it's been the making of me. If I had my life over again, I'd be a transvestite, I'd be transgender. Because pushing something in a positive way - pushing and saying: 'I'm gonna do this' - is positive.

How do you feel about the infighting in the gay community - arguments over what are the right and wrong ways to think, say and look?
I'm in the 'live and let live' category let people do what they want to do. It's a pity with alternative sexuality that we're all getting so angry with one another. Can't we just get angry with someone who deserves it?

Will you be playing more transvestite characters in movies?
I certalnly want to do more. Transvestites are definitely superheroes. They're one of the few groups known for actually going somewhere and changing - like Superman, only Captain Transvestite would see a problem, get changed, but take an hour to get ready.